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  CSPAN    Politics Public Policy Today    News/Business.  

    December 24, 2012
    8:00 - 1:00am EST  

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god bless you and god bless america. [applause] >> tomorrow morning a look at foreign policy in 2012. then the biggest political stories of 2012 with fox news
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political analyst juan williams. washington juren live every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> the senate runches for legislative business on thursday and the house has a proform asession scheduled that day. the first would extend provisions of the fisa act. the other is a pack abbling for areas affected by hurricane sandy. you can follow live coverage of the senate on c-span2. and house members are on stand by as negotiations continue over the so-called fiscal cliff. >> now a conversation on hollywood's portrayal of politics and policy making in
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movies and tv shows. among those we'll hear from the crete or the of the show "homeland." this is an hour 20 minutes. >> good evening again. welcome back to the forum. i'm not the one you'll be applauding for. you know we have public events, public forums in our headquarters campus about once a month. and we've had former presidents and foreign ministers and ambassadors and please chiefs. we have never, to my knowledge, had anybody who has ever created, let alone starred in movies or tv series until tonight. and we have michael lynn on the to thank for that. mike sl co-chair politics aside
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2012 just like 2010 and he of course is a ran strust tee so we're delighted to have him. he'll moderate tonight. and with him and i'll ask the panel to come forward. howard gor dan and michael sheen. >> figs of all, thank you for being here this evening and thank you for being here on a friday night. i don't do this for a live sog you're going to have to fill in in the middle. let's start off shes we all
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know the wonderful shows and movies you've been involved with, many of which have overlapped with politics from "homeland," "the queen", so the first thing i'd like to ask -- i'd like to talk about the shows "homeland" and "the queen." where did those come from in the first place? >> "24" came from a basic idea, two writers. joel said it was an in the shower idea. i'm thinking about television and in television there are 22
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or 24 episodes in a season, thinking about the number 24 and said could you do an entire series of television over the course of one day. and i was an executive at fox at the time and when he came in and said this to me and that was an intriguing notion could you do an entire series of television over one day real time. then he laid out the bearest pones of a story that would support that. it's a guy day of the california primary first unafrican-american way shot at the white house and he got word of an assasination attempt and it's his job to stop it, meanwhile his teenage daughter goes missing, that was sort of the beginning. i had zero faith he was going to be tible write it well but it was worth the price of admission to see and that's
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where it all began. and howard came into "24" beginning with episode two and carried it all the way to the end and wrote many of the greatest episodes and brought the series to a close in its last episode. but it began with an idea in the shower just thinking about the form of television. >> it was actually the day before a wedding so it wasn't until terrorism was something that came as a second integration. >> i never heard the day before the wedding version of it. >> because it didn't work as it turned out. >> then, of course, the show went on the air and got ordered in the spring of 2001 and then the pilot was made and finished and we ordered it then and went on the air in september of 2001. and so we ended up delaying the
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premiere by a week and went on two or three weeks after 9/11. >> it certainly changed the way we viewed the show. it's interesting that it itself pat ro moin wasn't born out of 9/11 which a lot of people think, but it was midwifed by it and viewed through it. relevant to tonight's conversation is some of the issue that is became relevant to the show like how do we prosecute the warren terror. jack resonated with the audience because whatever failure of intelligence allowed 9/11 to happen, jack was that character, filled in the gap and equally problematic nopt only were the terrorists but
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were the beaurocrats that allowed it to happen. as that story became more complicated, jack became a darker character and through the lens of guantanamo the story becameless -- he became less heroic character and more complicated certainly. >> and "homeland"? >> that was based on an veil series. and the show came to me from an decreal company. that one was a far more specific translation from the original. that was about two prisoners of war who are traded after 17 years of cap tivet to israel where it was kind of a rip van
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winkle drama. it dealt with substantially the idea of what is the price of a returning soldier who has been in captivity and something that was specific to that country and to that culture. and when it came our way, alex and i who is my writing partner on it and he runs the show, knew that was going to be a -- it was not something that would be relevant in the way it was presented in his original it ration. >> it's a very rullchurelly ressnant story in israel and everyone has a personal connection to the idea of p.o.w.'s and people missing. here guys knew it would be an anominally if we found a soldier suddenly alive in afghanistan or iraq. so i think it was the ano, ma'am louse nature of it that
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led them to this story. >> what was amazing to us and what was relevant is the idea that nowhere on american television had a returning soldier returning from war been portrayed. and obviously in very circumstances in the case of our character, but that was something that really interested us but it felt like a good way to dramatize a lot of the questions we answered on "24" in a more knew answer fashion ten years after 9/11. a lot of questions that weren't clear then are even more complex now. what do we have to be afraid of? what's the price of our security? and these are the characters we created to ask those questions. >> and michael, with "the
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queen" what prompted that? decpwhrit came from another deal. it was a trilogy of films. the deal was a film made for british television about the supposed deal that was made between tony blair and brown before they got into power with the labor party. and the deal, the first one came along at a time when the idea of portraying very prominent public figures certainly within the realm of politics nobody did that unless it was sketch shows, comedy that kind of thing. the idea of actually depicting presidents t idea of doing that
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is you can't take it seriously, that kind of thing. so the idea that peter morgan who is a well respected writer but hadn't found his voice up to that point. it wasn't until he wrote "the deal" he found his groove. having him on board and having proper producers behind it gave it a seriousness and a weight that nothing had had before that was looking at these sort of people. so "the deal" was on tv. i was offered the part and no one knew what to expect. everyone expected it to fail and not work. and i think through a combination of factors, the tone was right and it was acceptable and suddenly once the tone was acceptable and people were tible accept
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watching a drama which includes tony blair in bed. snons you take that seriously it opens an entire new universe of politics, history and opened up a can of worms as well. but the fact that that worked so well and was so accepted and respected and celebrated when it came out, because it did very well. that led to "the queen" and the possibility with that subject matter. we didn't expect that many to be excited about the supposed deal between blair and brown before they went into government. but about the queen and the family and lifting the vail. you thrift veil and this is an
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extraordinary world we've never seen inside of. so "the queen r queen" came directly from the deal. >> what did tony blair think of it? >> next question. >> i want to know president obama said "homeland" is his favorite show. my question is when you're dealing with live, real people who you are portraying or in the case of "homeland" or "24" when you're trying to deal with agencies that you are representing, what is that interaction like? we were talking a little bit in the room next door, maybe you can answer michael, how is tony blair's perception changed as a result of those films or the
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queen's perception changed in the minds of the public then we can talk about "homeland" and "24"? >> there are many things that you realize that you are working with when you do a film or a tv show that is -- has so much political emphasis. and one of the things is inevitably you come up against the agenda of people in terms of the agendas they have for looking at and judging politicians and public figures. which in my experience people tend to be more comfortable looking at things black and white and you want people to fit into a certain box so you can judge them against other people and make a choice and all that. and of course the first duty of an artist is to go beyond black and white and become three
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dimensional and make it real and make it contradictry because that's what human beings are and make it vellnerble which goes in the face of the way people want to view politicians. and you realize very quickly dish know when it was announced that we were doing "the queen" having done "the deal," i would have prominent people in the industry saying things to me like i'm looking forward to you giving it to blair. that's not really what i'm going for. and you realize there is a really strong agenda here and everyone projects on to you their own politics which and once it came out i realized quickly if we did the job well,
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people would still think we had done a hatchet job or we had done a great booster job for these people. but people project on to it what they want to see. people who are anti-blare and people problare we did a problair perform sons people read in what they want to read in. in terms of the actual people, there was a huge amount of suspicion. >> on the part of the tony blair? >> yes, the new labor movement, a big part of it were about controling the media and making sure everyone's message, that delicate balance between the media and their policies, the idea of this rogue group that was going to color people's view of them that they have no
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control of was difficult for them. at the same time blair was -- subsequently it's hard to pin down what blair thinks abet because he says he's never watched any of them which is not true. when i did meet him he newsome things better than i did. i understand he has to say he hasn't see them. he doesn't want to answer questions. that's fair enough. but i suspect that there is a certain amount of -- that he's quite proud that it's being portrayed like that and there have been a few films made about it. and on the other hand he's suspicious. when i did meet him it was a push me pull you relationship we had. on the one hand it was fascinating meeting someone who played him and knew a lot about
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him and at the same time anything he said or did i might be using. when i met him i met him just before we did the third one and he knew that we were making it and i actually met him at murdock's house which i was very kindly invited to by mr. murdock's wife who thought it would be entertaining to put me and tony blair together. which it was. and i thought this is probably -- i had had a few chances to meet him which i had tushed down because i try to stay away from everyone i was going to play. but i thought at this point i really want to get a smell of it. i want to know what he's like on an animal level and how he moves the air and how people react and what smell does he give off which really helps. but when i got there we had an
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initial chat again where he said he hadn't seen anything. and then talked about certain things. and then his chief of staff and the lady who headed up his foundation were there and they had been briefed to keep me away from him because the rest of the evening they were on me. but they got progressively more and more fluid. i wasn't drinking and they started telling me incredibly discreet things about him which we used. but one thing i was going to say, the extraordinary thing is each time i played blair i would go back and look at any documentries that came out since the last one. when we came to do special relationship a major documentary had been made because he wasn't in power anymore chrks was interesting
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and covered a lot of the areas we covered. but when the interviewer asked blair so the first time you met the queen, i believe as prime minister t morning after you won the election i believe that you're meeting was slight ackquard that a few things happened that weren't protocol. do you remember what happened. he says well what do they do in the film? so blair used the film that we had made up as a way to answer that question. so it's an extraordinary reversal of things. >> howard and david, so with both shows, with "homeland" now and with "24" in the past, were there actions with various government agencies
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particularly with terism with yourself and those agencies and did they respond at all to what was going on on in the show? >> no. they really were -- the show is so fundamentally propost rouse, the ood that so much could happen and have a middle and end in 24 shours fundamentally crazy and "homeland" deposit that is the cia is operating on our soil which as far as i know isn't happening. but there is emotional truth to the characters and our relationship with the military and count terism agencies. they were fans. they became fans of the show and they just kind of, we got calls from people from the pentagon and from politicians. both shows were done and
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conceived without cooperation and without any purported. connection to how they actually run. it was never part of the promises. i've attempted some shows that have not seen the light of day with cooperation of government agencies. i worked for a long time on a show with the f.b.i. and also with nasa, negotiate of which probably not unco--- probably not coins dently came to fruition. but these shows "homeland" -- "24" made up it's own organization c.. the u. to avoid it and with "homeland" it was a step towards reality so it does elude to the cia. but -- >> our relationship with the military was interesting
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because obviously these agencies want to keep arm's length. and once they became fans -- i think it was that simple, they just enjoyed it and felt this is portraying when we did portray a general or soldier, the military became cooperative. so we had a pentagon lie ace son. it got to the point we said we need a couple of f-16s they said sure. it got great. a lot of production value where it came. i think obviously they thought their public affairs and their public image through that show -- >> at the you same token i was visited by the dean of west point a few years later when there was some cry that some investigators in iraq and in
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afghanistan were being influenced by the content of the show and that their interrogation techniques were being informed by -- >> let me ask a question or finish your thought. >> no, i'll go back to it. >> i ask the question on the issue of terism in this country, "homeland" and "24" may or may not have had an affect on it. torture is a very, very prominent component of the show. and to what extent do you think that film and that show entered into the debate particularly under the bush administration? >> i think in "24" there was no -- the idea and it was promoted in certain articles and i think there was a con flation of
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politics because joel who created the show is a conservative. the affiliations on the staff were from the far left to the far right. there was no agenda on public policy. it is absurd. which isn't to say that if there was an issue f in fact our content was affecting the behavior of interrogate tors in the field, even if it was.50% were taking 245eur cues from jack bower, there was a system i can problem. the fact this is a television show, it is a television show, but it did -- and again the
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fact that "24" became the political football that it became for a while anyway i think was a valuable thing. >> it was a key article in the new yorker that jane mayor wrote at the height of "24." it was a look at the terism issue and its affect on the military. and i think she's fundamentally a washington military journalist and hadn't done a lot of stuff in television popular culture. and it was sort of an interesting moment for the show. and i'm not sure whether it was helpful or harmful to the show. >> i think it was harmful. somebody at a party said i used to watch the show until i found out it was promoting torture. that -- they seem to approximate mate some sort of
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logical conclusion but they don't. >> you were saying before that popular -- one of the things that make it popular is people are able to read into it what they want. and the politics, good complex story telling, the politics are a little hard to figure out. >> as you said before, the idea if you can offend everybody, you've done your job. the fact that rush limbaugh can love a show and bill clinton can love it too. in "unthinkable" did the issue of torture become part of the debate? >> that's what it was. it was about taking the ticking clock scenario you're familiar with. the idea a man has put four
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nuke bombs on american soil, how far do you go to get it out of him? what are the lines you're prepared to go up to or beyond in order to to save the entire united states of america or everyone in it or do you have to negotiate with this man's human rights? so the film was a dramization of that. and again very difficult to read what the politics of it were. you can watch the entire film and again everyone has their own view of it and being the man who -- actually the film is about a cr i aagent who is working in iraq disappears and nobody knows where he is. he hops up in a mall in america and gives himself up and when he's brought in he says that he's converted to become a muslim and has put these bombs
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around the place. then sam jackson's character comes in and using torture and the whole film is about me being tortured by sam jackson and pushing you to see how far everybody concern sd prepared to go to get the information out of him. it was an incredibly difficult film to make for me. i remember one of the first days of the torture thing which is is something where i was chained to the ceiling and hosed down with water with fans blowing on me. and i said how are we going to do this and they said we're going to do it but not for very long. that set up a precedent for the hole film. that was a very frightening thing to go through. a point you brought up which is the idea that people's desire
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to be involved in helping the maging of this completely depends on what they believe is how they are being portrayed in it. and that gets very complicated. >> it's a public they report they are trying to not to get in trouble. there are agencies who are better orless. >> i think muleler believed in the idea which he sort of watched the c.s.i. effect. c.s.i. created more interest in people going into coronaries forensic seasons and that college programs couldn't go fast enough to put people through and he had watched that
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and realized as the f.b.i., wanted to make being an f.b.i. agent cool. that was a recruiting vehicle. that was his interest. and john miller who ran public affairs with him for a long time and was a high ranking public affairs guy and had come out of television and has gone back to television and understood it. and even with the best of intentions, there was e normous tension the whole way through. if we're going to do modern television people are going to watch there are going to have to be character flaws, there was conversation over drinking and smoking and sex and what kind of sex and where and when and how. and they had the best of intentions and i was direct with them going in. and i would say that was the best experience. >> but ultimately the show didn't work.
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>> it wasn't quite original enough. and as crazy as kerri mathison as she is, as psychologically damaged. i do believe that kerri mathison makes the cia sexy. it makes it a sexy place to work and interesting place to work and i bet it would net a -- despite all of her personal problems and i think somebody should ask that question of the cia what has happened in the last six months of their recruiting. >> they threals but it would be hard for any government agent to say i'm going to support a buy polar agent who is sleeping with an as lamb i can radical. >> in some ways it highlights those things more in terms of
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one person. through the whole journey of frost nixon, his relationship which garn in a small treat ner london, then broadway, then a movie. the very first preview performance of frost nixon in a theater in london, the entire back row was lawyers, the third preview david there was having been given the all clear or told you should go see it yourself and he was shaken by it to begin w. for a man who is incredibly generous and warm and positive and supportive of everything, i think he felt very confused by how he should react to this. and as the whole thing went on as it started to become clear this was going to be a massive hit in terms of the play and
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the theater version of it, he started to get behind it because he's a very good business man and he started to go, well, okay, there is a certain amount of this i don't believe actually happened and is not true and we have someone in the audience who knows a lot more about it but i think he made a judgment call which was and i think this is the same with the agencies whoever is working on it and who is being represented, are we going to get more good, he was never going to be able to control how he was portrayed in it and i'm sure if the f.b.i. and c.i.a. and military could control it, i'm sure they would. but it's a give and take. the difficult thing from an autistic point of view, how much are you being compromised in the story you want to tell. what was interesting for us at one point that david famously
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had gone to the premiere of a film that he was a producer of the night before he did his interview with nixon and he was criticized about it. on the premiere of frost nixon he was interviewing blair the next day. he interviewed blair and managed to get out of that on the admission that the iraq war was a disaster that nobody got. he learned something. that is an interesting give and take with the whole thing. >> so we heard this afternoon or this morning from a senior saudi arabian television official that he felt television programming through the 70's and 1980's had a
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positive effect on diplomacy. how do you think the world outside viewing shows like "homeland" and "24," have you heard anything at all? >> "24" and "homeland" are popular not just in germany and u.k. but in jordan and turkey. "24" is a huge hit in iran. it's beamed in illegally by -- you're not getting paid for it? >> no. but i do think. >> but it's smuggled in a lot. the actor is persian and has a lot of connections in iran and he's been tracking "homeland" in iran.
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>> it is stuningly popular but i've read a few criticisms of the show and to the extent that we make piss people off on every side of the aisle and are embraced by them too is a good thing. one thing i did learn is that as an export, as a public face, we do have some responsibility, some influence on -- this is an american export and we are good at this. we make really good movies and television shows. it is what the world sees of us. and there was a book by a researcher at the gallop organization and they polled people in egypt what is your feeling about americans.
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i don't like america but i like americans. and a very small percentage had never met an american. and they said how dow know and the answer was "friends". >> based on that i like america too. >> politics dem nieses and culture humanizes and you create some essential truth about tony blair. you have to love him at some point. >> this is an important thing in the case of the things i've been involved in which are baced on real people and real events, in the case of "homeland" and "24" it's not based on actual things that have happened but the responsibility of how you portray this kind of thing. >> i'm quite annoying to howard
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because i think i'm the one person kected to "homeland" who grew up in d.c. so i obsess on tine details like m street is not a one way street, it goes both ways. >> but on the details that aren't so specific. i think you get enough of those details right that people can buy into the show. barack obama is not watching the show because it's a brilliant portrayal of the c.i.a. it gets enough of the details what it feels like to be in those situations. i have no idea why i like the show -- >> i think it's less about the details. michael described it as it's not a pa lem i can and i think audiences smell propaganda but if you can introduce the
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complexity of what they do. "24" was not about a good choice and bad choice but the better of two bad choices. if there was a formula of "24" that would have been it. and i think these people saw and president obama sees as well there is something about the preventation of the complexity of some of the things that people who are charged with these jobs have to deal with. writing it and imagining it makes me glad it's not my job just imagining how tough some of these decisions must be makes you grateful. >> the verse that we show in frost nixon "the queen" and that is how much responsibility you take with that, especially when art itself is working in
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metaphors. when people ask me about there is a pivot al scene in "frost nixon" which never happened. how could you show that because that is a pivotal moment in the piece. and the same with "the queen," that never happened. nixon did used to make phone calls gs calls and a part of his research would be times he was on heavy medication at time and would make phone calls at times he wouldn't remember. his staff were told if the president calls you during the middle of the night stay on the phone, he will eventually fall asleep you put down the phone and never mention it. if it was a ballet of frost nixon, is it a valuable
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argument to say frost never balletted around nixon? it's not a documentary. so it's more about -- i think an audience response on a whole as to the complexity of something. that's a balancing act of the facts. i watched "ar go" the other day and one of the things i was unclear about was the most exciting part of it was something that didn't actually happen. it's an interesting question to talk about it how much can an entertainment rely on things that didn't happen if it is supposed to be based on real events. that is something that with each piece i've been involved with you have to judge along the way.
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>> talk about your new piece. >> i will be working on a piece about masters and johnson which is about real people and real events. >> a piece about mouse and johnson which has not been done. these conventions of how popular entertainment gets made. we do historical pieces but real 20th century figures, they are done in movies, but not done in series so of course a series over the course of however many episodes we end up making we'll take great liberties with historical record. but it will be an interesting -- >> my rule of thumb in terms of playing the individual characters is that as the process goes on, the more i
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find out about the character and the more research i do and totally i mers myself in their life i will start arguing with the director and say no he wouldn't do that and they say no michael it's a story. you're not doing a documentary, it's a story. and when i first come up against the script, i don't know enough at that point to say he didn't do that or this. i have to agree on trust and by gut instinct and as a start finding out more and more. i've found where it does depart from the factual record i still feel like it's portraying the spirit of it. and when people say not every fact is true that you somehow manage to get across something far more complex than if you just showed the facts.
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something was recently pitched to me about a very prominent public contemporary figures series and i didn't have the guts to do it. it felt somehow wrong to try to make a fictional thing. it's one thing to do. maybe that's the line. virginia johnson is sfill alive, masters is not. but their moment of prominence is 1960's, 1970's, 1980's. but i felt uncomfortable doing a tv show based on real people where we were going to fictionalize their lives and not the control ability of a two-hour script and an ongoing script and making up episodes.
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i wonder if some day that wouldn't be an interesting thing to do, not just this satire of the white house that you get on saturday night live fwout do -- >> not having to do with a major terrorist attack. >> to do the obama story while he's in office. >> which is what you did with tony blair. decpwhrit takes a lot of balls to do that. >> a film that was in development came to me about jack kennedy and i remember looking at it and it was very much exploring the area of the women and all that kind of stuff. and i was aware that this was such -- because you're now dealing with fact and mythology and dealing with the american psyche and what he represents and the darker side and what it could do and open up, i just
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thought this is too much for me. and also it has to be handled -- i didn't think that every brodget that's been around, i don't think anyone has been able to hand that will in a way i would feel comfortable getting involved in. because you are opening up a massive can of worms there and all the ramifications of it. and the idea of people in high ranking positions and aadultous affairs is still very current. and they would be something valid and exciting about getting involved in exploring that issue but you are starting to tinker with things that are -- you start to wake a dragon and if you don't feel like you have the machine in place to deal with that, then it's like -- it can the danger zone. i remember when i was at drama school and have you acting
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teachers who think they are qualified to psych analyzing their students. you're starting to mess with people's psyches and have you no power to do it. so i think you have to be careful when you're dealing with that type of subject matter. >> why don't we take a few questions from the audience. >> first, where do i apply for an extra for masters and johnson? >> you have to get naked pretty quickly. latch laugh >> now that we got the serious one out of the way. >> why sit offensive to do a film on masters and johnson but
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okay to make up a phone call on nixon and frost? >> where do you draw the line on making up things for entertainment purposes? >> i think the line is -- i don't mind messing with history, i don't mind intermenting history, creating -- i would feel uncomfortable messing with an individual or a group of individuals who making up stuff about them as it's happening. i think there is a distinction and i'm not sure it's a moral distinction but i think you are on shakier ground, sort of
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clowning somebody out or making up stories on an ongoing basis when somebody is still living and working. >> like i said, -- i'm going to speak on behalf of the peter morgan who wrote it but in creating drama you have to find both an entertaining powerful and disty lation metaphor for something that stays true to the events and the people involved. so i feel like if you portray someone doing something that is totally out of character to them, that is clearly -- that's where i would draw the line. but in terms of peter coming up with that phone call event which allowed certain things about nixon to be tible come to the floor, certain things about
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frost to come to the floor, certain things they both did that there was no place for in this whole narrative, it brought things together in a way that didn't cross the line of responsibility of what you show and don't show and somehow it was able to make something more complex in a way. the actual events were in some ways less complex in that story and peter found a way to make it more complex and show a vulnerable about nixon and bound him and frost together, the idea of two people who see themselves as outsiders and see reflections of each other and see mirror images of each other, so it created this powerful, dramatic metaphor for something that didn't not happen if you see what i mean.
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that kind of thing happened and it just created a turning poin in the film that the story needed at that point. and for me personally i didn't feel it crossed the line. but it is the one thing that i've been involved in, every film i've been involved in people go what, that didn't happen. and whose responsibility sit to find out the truth. i do think for a lot of people the pims we do and tv shows we do are as far as people are going to go in terms of what actually happened. it's not like you can't find out stuff. there is stuff everywhere. so if it causes people to say i'm going to find out more about this, that's great. i'm not sure how much. i don't know how much you can be blamed for well, i thought that was true and it's not. it's up to you to find that
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out, isn't it? >> particularly when you are dealing with some subjects that are insind air. 80% of americans found out their medical details from "house." >> my throat hurts, what is that? >> but it is something i think every artist, writer, executive in this medium what is my responsibility to the truth and what is my moral legal responsibility? i think those are lines nobody draws but as long as you are asking the questions -- >> we've never asked that question. >> never. >> blair's wife is famously
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ledishes, where you get sued the lawyers are on the phone all the time with all these things. >> i'm grateful you are clarified and said your limits. i want to tell you a story and ask you a question. somebody was at warner brothers at the time when "j.f.k." was being made. there was a shot warner brothers wouldn't release. that was right after the assasination in dallas they got to l.b.j. sitting in his office. the phone rings he picks up the phone and somebody says it's done and he hangs up the phone. i was telling that story and said it didn't appear until the film but a student from germany said i saw that scene in
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germany. if it's in the foreign version and not in the domestic version, i think that says things about americans that will not be easily scrubbed from any mind. make believe does make believe. i'd like your comment on that but i'd like an answer to this question, when a lot of people overseas see an american film in which torture is used unrepeated, if there were a case in which somebody felt in effect that i've seen it in american television, i believe it happens, i believe it's okay or they wouldn't show it on television and without license committed torture, would you feel any personal responsibility about that, how would you feel? >> just on the j.f.k. assasination thing. i just read one of stephen king's new books which is about
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the assasination and a man who has the ability to go back in time and tries to stop the assasination of j.f.k. does that mean we should put a thing on the front and say this didn't happen? at what point is it someone's responsibility to find out whether there is a backing up of that argument. it seems ridiculous when it's about time travel because there is no time travel yet. to a lot of people that would be absurd, where is that line? it's a gray area. >> i think the answer to somebody who will look at -- watch "24" and say see didn't i tell you americans are torture
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amongers. it goes to the old question of what is the effect, what's the cause and what's the effect of art and on public perception and behavior. would i personally feel responsible? i thought about it and i do think we all bear some responsibility but not complete responsibility. so somebody who doesn't have a critical capacity to turn on a television and realize this is fiction, this is not a representation, that people will read this as a reflection of american policy or of america is an unfortune possibility and in some cases i'm sure only underscores preexisting beliefs in any opinion. but i think -- yeah, i don't know what to say except i've
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thought an awful lot about it and something like "24" was singled out for instance. i think it belongs to a long literature from dirty harry. people were protesting americans. people loved "dirty harri." there was this consequence of events. where is the line drawn? by putting masters and johnson are they going to say look at these shameless americans who are promoting wanting sexuality where do you draw the line? >> i feel my duty as an artist like i said right at the beginning, my ultimate response sblet to represent human beings who are three dimensional and are flawed and have gray areas.
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i have to feel like there isn't one -- i just find it artistically dull for something to be overly politicizeded. i don't feel like that about the truge. so the characters i would also need to see that. it increases a kind of dignity and respect and understanding for the people involved. this is where i get into gray areas. you agree with his politics? it becomes very difficult. the more you get immersed, the market is odd to see them as just a politician -- the more it is odd to see them as just a politician. my personal responsibility would
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be to make sure the complexity of each person and the complexity of each situation is explored as fully as possible. >> [inaudible] oliver stone is a master of this. i am trying to square his very
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perceptive about an emotional truth with this something that is emotionally on true -- untrue. the same thing, the paranoid theories about fdr being behind pearl harbor. i'm trying to find the roots to this paranoia. i do not like to see paranoia perpetuated. >> i agree. the idea of showing lbj on the phone -- it is an artistic failure more than anything else. >> there are questions of taste. is that an interesting artistic choice? is it cheesy? we all face those choices all the time. michael faces those decisions. do i believe it represents some truth?
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do i think it is cheesy or faullse? >> there are certain things that decrease the complexity. the lbj it decreases the complexities. it simplifies it in a way that is banal and uninteresting. i think fed answers both sides of it. -- i think that answers both sides of it. from a factual point of view, i see no evidence to back that up. someone could do a film about the theories of 9/11. i guess someone is allowed to make a film about the most ridiculous ideas about 9/11. it would be difficult to do that in a way that was compelling. it would artistically be a
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failure, i would imagine. if someone can make a brilliant portrayal of the most ridiculous theories about 9/11, i would be amazed. >> over here. >> [inaudible] what was portrayed on the news was the truth. we all deal with that with their own children. i look at the question of the world. in america, the criteria [inaudible] what do we already know? that is one standard. we are putting things out into the world. there are many people --
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everything that is portrayed about america is the truth. huge damage can be done in the world -- there are unintended consequences. huge damage can be done. i do not know how you put it into your arithmetic come into your calculus. >> -- arithmetic, it into your calculus. >> some people are more thoughtful than others. some artists are more thoughtful than others. i am not the artist. i am one of the gatekeepers. it is something i think about.
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you are wasting a lot of different things, artistic merit a lot ofe waitineighing different things. i do believe that in television, in my experience, the good stuff wins. when i have had success, it was something that was interesting and provocative. people are more and more literate. it translates beyond america. it is hard to answer for jack bauer and how he handles a difficult situation as a sole representative of how an american deals with somebody in
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who has a piece of information. it is a very hard thing to answer. that is a problem with literacy. that is a problem with education. there is an inevitable path of increasing sophistication, the amount of information that people can process and the amount of narrative complexity that people can process. it is on an increasing curve. >> i know you are an optimist. >> i am optimistic. look at television in 1968 versus or television is today. look at what the cbs evening newscast from 1974 versus what is happening today. it has become more politicized. the ability to process
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information has ground. n.ese are -- has grown a these are issues of education. >> [inaudible] >> right. it is now more obvious. >> there is ongoing battle globally. people are putting out ideas. various ways, hidden or not, and value systems for these arguments. that is going on all the time. every single person involved on whatever level in our industry is putting something out there. obviously, you have to take responsibility for its. you try to work out exactly -- you join in a battle. someone else is saying probably
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the opposite. you have to get in there and do it. other people will not stop and you have to do battle with them. my own feeling is anything that opens up, creates more complexity, because it stops people from coming away from it with a black-and-white argument. i am very proud of it. people have totally different interpretations, depending on what their point of view is. it puts the emphasis back on them. it allows the space to allow people to say, i will find out more about that. there is something confusing about complexity. >> there is a question over here.
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>> i have one comment and two questions. m street is one way. in georgetown. [laughter] >> m street is one way. that was the wrong example. [laughter] >> we will not be held accountable. >> it eventually got right in the script. >> you made me think, that is what is important. >> thank you. >> you talked a lot about your interpretation of past history. it is my hunch that "24" affected the future of history by presenting an admirable black president.
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i would like to know what you think. i have my second question -- [laughter] where did michael buy his socks? [laughter] >> that was my question. >> they were a present. from someone with incredible taste. they are british. >> i find it ironic that the notion of that black president, although he was just a presidential candidate in season 1, was created by a republican
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that probably was not thinking he was paving the way for barack obama. you make interesting choices. >> he has a picture in his office -- it is president obama looking this way. and there -- and then there is a portrait of david palmer. >> bill did, and they will come. there -- build it, and they will come. if you create the concept of something that was not there before, it creates the possibility. that is the extraordinary power of art. >> president obama and david palmer came from the same ether.
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it became far more interesting than some white-haired old dude. it did represent fictionally what barack obama represented factually. the best of what america could be. having only emancipated slaves 100 and something years before could put as its chief executive of black man. it was better drama. >> it was a very deliberate choice. it was a story telling choice. >> it was a more interesting choice. >> trying to create stakes. the assassination would be a national catastrophe. the first african american with a chance for the white house.
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that is where the choice came from. >> last question. yes? >> [inaudible] i want to circle back about what you said about the saudi ambassador. you've already discussed with you think about. what control does you have over the show's going there and being translated, and maybe not the dialogue that you intended? how does that work? according to him, this is a huge influence in how we are viewed. >> it is a distribution -- what
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control do we have in terms of distribution? >> [inaudible] >> she is asking an artistic question. >> i sent fox has some monitoring. >> that is not the question you are asking. >> it is the same. it is either subtitled or dubbed. >> thank you. >> we are doing "24" in india. the fictional prime minister of the country he was a bollywood star.
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he is playing jack bauer. i do think there is a great opportunity for cultural diplomacy not withstanding the hazard that a show like '24" might have had. there is a tremendous power and responsibility. it is good that those of us to do this and create the continent are mindful -- the contents are mindful that we have that power. it is easy to get isolated in los angeles. it is a little bit of a twinkie defense to say that it is just a television show. >> as the moderator, i will make one comment.
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i grew up in the netherlands. there are 19 political parties. they used to buy time. interestingly, in the mid- 1970's, the show's the labor party showed was "all in the family." the more conservative party showed "m.a.s.h." you can never really understand how it is going to be manipulated by local agendas and parties. that was my experience crying not. let me ask a last question. aside from things that you have
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been directly involved with, is there a film or documentary or television show which you think is a great example of what hollywood can mean to public policy and politics? is there a singular documentary film, television show, which stands out to you? >> "mr. smith goes to washington." no matter what your politics are, i cannot imagine anyone watching that film not being somehow moved to have a voice. to be able to put a voice to experience and your point of view. i suppose that gets me every time. >> good choice. >> mine was "it's a wonderful
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life." it was a snapshot of an imagined america. to the extent that was a window to the rest of the world, people at their best. >> my reaction was open " saturday night live -- was " saturday night live." i love politics, i love the sport of fault -- i love the sport of politics. i like satire.
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>> i am going to cheat and say "12 angry men." >> all of holland came to a stop at 7:00 on monday night. thank you very much. >> here is what had this christmas eve. george will on the relationship between religion and politics. james taylor and his recent appearance at the national press club. later, michelle obama shows children the white house holiday decorations. >> by the time i was 9 years old, i was handing out leaflets for robert kennedy. when i was 10, i made a big decision and broke with the democratic party. i went to work for john lindsay,
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who was running as mayor for new york. i was handing out leaflets on the street corner in new york. some woman thought this was soberly cute -- was really cute and she asked me why. i made the case against his opponent. she said, that is so cute. she hands me a box of -- zero white box with strain. i ticket back to the liberal party headquarters. there were all these doughnuts and a wad of $10 bills. one of my early lessons you can keep the doughnuts. >> obama campaign strategist david axelrod on his life and journalism and politics.
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at 10:45, the groin that in the white house -- growing up in the white house. >> george will spoke recently at washington university in st. louis about the role of religion and politics. the speech was hosted by the forth sity's john dan center. >> finally, it is my honor to introduce senator john danforth, who will introduce mr. will. the senator is a partner with the law firm. he graduated with honors from princeton university, where he majored in religion. he received a bachelor of divinity degree from yale divinity school and a bachelor
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of laws degree from yale law school. he practiced law for some years and began his political career in 1968 when he was elected attorney general of missouri in his first place for public office. missouri voters elected him to the u.s. senate in 1976. they reelected him in 1982 and 1988, for a total of 18 years of service. the senator initiated major legislation in international trade, telecommunications, health care, research and development, transportation, and civil rights. he was later appointed special account told by janet reno -- special counsel by janet reno. he later represented the united states as u.s. ambassador to the
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united nations and served as a special envoy to sudan. he has been a great friend to missouri, st. louis, and washington university. please join me in welcoming him now. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. i owe our speaker an apology. when you hear the apology, you are going to conclude that i am a really terrible human being. i am the kind of person who takes advantage of a friend, especially a friend who is vulnerable. when he is vulnerable, i pounce. tonight's origin was a rehearsal
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dinner the night before the wedding of victoria will, george's only daughter. george was standing on the edge of the hotel ballroom taking and one of life's great moments. the marriage of the daughter is so deeply emotional. george the loving father was clearly caught up in a moment. that was the moment i seized the opportunity to strike. i sidled up to him and whispered ever so softly in his ear, would you mind giving a lecture at washington university?
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you might ask how anybody could have been so insensitive. after 18 years in the senate, it came naturally. [laughter] george has been a close friend for nearly four decades and it is wonderful to welcome him to st. louis, even if the invitation so disgraceful. george will is one of the most recognizable people in america today. certainly, the most widely known intellectual. he is the author of the least a dozen books. since the early days of the show, he has been a regular on what is now "this week with george stephanopoulos."
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he is an astute philosopher. he is a native of illinois, a student of baseball, a lifelong cubs fan, and as such, he is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. [laughter] despite their rudeness of the invitation, he is my friend. george well. [applause] >> jack's invitation is perfectly acceptable. my dear friend william f.
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buckley once called up his friend charles and heston, the actor, and said chuck, do you believe in free speech? he said, of course. he said good, you are about to give one. it is a delight to be back here. it is a delight to be back on campus. long ago and far away, i was a college professor. in 1976, two of my friends ran for the senate against each other in new york state.
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the night they were both nominated, jim buckley got up and said, i look forward to running against professor moynihan. i am sure professor of moynihan will conduct it can take -- a campaign. jim buckley is referring to you as professor moynihan. the mudslinging has begun. what's your in for tonight, however, it is an episode -- a lecture on political philosophy. take notes, there will be a test. in 1953, the year in which the in"under god" were added to the
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pledge of allegiance, it he proclaimed the fourth of july and national day of prayer. on that day, eisenhower fished in the morning, both in the afternoon, and played bridge in the evening. there were prayers -- perhaps when the chief executive faced a daunting putt. this was not his first foray into the darkened ground of the relationship between religion and american politics. three days before christmas in 1952, president elect ike made a speech in which she said "our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in the deeply felt religious faith and i do not care what it is." he received a much ridicule from
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his cultured despise years. his professed indifference to the major of the religious faith. it is the first part of the statement that deserves continuing attention. certainly many americans, perhaps the majority of them, agreed that democracy or at least our democracy, which is based on a belief in natural rights, presupposes religious faith. people believe this that all people are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. there are two separate propositions that are pertinent to any consideration of the role of religion in american
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politics. one is an empirical question. is it a fact that the success of a democracy requires a religious people governing themselves by religious norms? the second question is a question of logic. does belief in america as distinctive and democracy, a limited government his limits are defined by the natural rights of the government, those those entailed religious beliefs? regarding the empirical question, i believe religion has nine and can still be supremely important and helpful to the flourishing of our democracy. i do not believe it is necessary for good citizenship. regarding the question of our government's logic, i do not
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think the idea of natural rights requires a religious foundation or even that the founders uniformly thought so. it is, however, the case that natural rights are especially grounded when there are grounded in religious. we in journalism are admonished not to bury the lead. we are supposed to put the most important point early on in our story. i will begin by postulating the following. in the 20th-century, the most important decision taken anywhere by anyone about anything was the decision made in the first decade of the last century about where to locate princeton university's graduate college.
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princeton's president, a starchy presbyterian named woodrow wilson, up wanted the graduate college located on the main campus. one and theersary graduate college located where it now is -- wanted the graduate college located where it now is. woodrow wilson was a man of unbending temperament when he was certain he was right, which was almost always. he took his defeat about the graduate college badly. he resigned the presidency, went into politics. [laughter] i simplify somewhat and exaggerate a bit. i do so to make a point, however. to date and for the past century, since woodrow wilson was elected the nation's
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president 100 years ago, american politics has been a struggle to determine which best understood what american politics should be. should we practice the politics of woodrow wilson? or the politics of james madison? what has this to do with our topic today, the role of something ancient, religion, in something very modern, american politics? the crux of the difference between the approaches to politics is the concept of natural rights. as i draw for you my picture of the rivalry between these -- the rivalry, i recall the story of a
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teacher who asked her class to draw a picture of whatever here she chose. she circulated among their desks. causing -- pausing at the desk of little sally, she asked, of what are you drawing a picture? i am drawing a picture of god. the teacher said, no one knows what god looks like. salad replied, they will in a minute. -- sally replied, they will in a minute. [laughter] in 30 minutes or so, you will have the picture or so of my theory of the role of religion in american politics. i will note creek securities -- ities.peculiar rarities i write about politics to support my baseball habit.
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jack had to -- had the bad taste to mention the chicago cubs. i grew up any -- midway between chicago and st. louis. i had to choose between being a cubs fan and the cardinals fan. all of my friends became cardinal fans and grew up cheerful and liberal. [laughter] i became a gloomy conservative, but not gloomy about long-term prospects. america has just had a
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presidential election, it's 57. the ticket of one of the major parties did not contain a protestant. this was an event without precedent. it is especially interesting because the ticket, and more men and a catholic, was put forward by a party -- regarding religion, the times, they are changing. when are they not? i am part of this interesting change. i am a member of the nones. when americans are asked their religious affiliation, a 20% say none.
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my subject is the role of religion and politics. i am not a person of faith. concerning this, permit me a few digressions. i am the son of a professor of philosophy. he was the son of a lutheran minister. my father may have become a philosopher because his father was a minister. as a boy, the future professor will sat outside the pastors study door listening to the pastor and members of his congregation wrestle with the problem of reconciling free will. by the time my father became an adult, after a childhood of two or more church services every sunday, he had seen quite enough of the inside of churches.
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he also had acquired a philosopher's disposition. i was raised in a secular home, but one which the table talk often tipped a reflective turn. my father had recently so adjourned at oxford, i was able to spend two years there. oxford was the vibrate center of the study of philosophy. because of that, i next went to princeton to study political philosophy. i began in journalism at the national review.
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religion is central to the american party because religion is not central to american politics. religion plays a large role in nurturing of the virtue because of the modernity of america. carnation assigns the politics come up -- our nation as signs the politics, encouraging the flourishing of the infrastructure of the institution that have the primary responsibility for nurturing the sociology of virtue. these institutions with their
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primary responsibility are of the private sector of life. they are not political institutions. some of our founders, notably benjamin franklin, subscribe to the 18th century, a watery that postulated a creator that while doug the universe like a clock -- wound up the universe like a clock and did not intervene in the human story. deism explains the existence of the nature of universe, but so does the big bang theory. religion is supposed to consult and conjoined, as well as explain. deism hardly counts as a
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religion. george washington would not kneel to pray. when is pastor rebuked him for setting a bad example, washington mended his ways. he stayed away from church on communion sundays. he had demolished christianity's the nine employees on society, but no ministers were present and no press for said when he died -- and no prayers were said when he died. washington had proclaimed that religion and morality are indispensable supports for political prosperity. he said, let's us with caution, and jewel--- indoles the
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supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. reason and experience both for best to expect that morality can prevail in exclusion for religious principles. the locker john adams lived, the shorter grew his creed. in the end, it was unitarianism. jefferson wrote those ringing words of the declaration, but jefferson was a utilitarian when he urged and nephew to inquire into the truth of christianity. "if it ends in a belief that there is no god, you'll find virtue in the comforts unpleasantness you feel in virtues exercise."
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james madison always explained away religion as an innate appetite. the mind, he said, prefers the idea of the self the existing clause to that of an infant series of -- infinite series of cause and effect. madison said -- even the founders were unbelievers considered it a civic duty in public service to be observant unbelievers. two days after jefferson wrote his famous letter endorsing a wall of separation between church and state, he attended church services in the house of representatives.
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services were also held at the treasury department. jefferson and other founders made statements like accommodations for the public's strong preference for religion to enjoy ample space in the public square. they understood that fostered attitudes and aptitudes associated with an useful to a popular government. protestantism emphasis on the individuals' direct relationship with god and the privacy of individual choice subverted convention hierarchical societies in which deference was expected from the many towards the few. beyond that, the american
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founding of much more to john loche than to jesus. right that exist before government exists. rights that are natural and are not creations of the regime that exists to secure them. in 1786, the year before the constitution convention, it in the preamble for religious freedom, jefferson proclaimed " our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions and physics or geometry." since the founding, america's religious enthusiasm have waxed and waned. the durability of america's denominations have confounded jefferson's prediction, which
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she made in 1822. rich -- he said there is not a young man now living in the united states who will not die a a unitarian. the public elected taft. there is a fast ended paradox at work. america is the first and most relentlessly modern nation. it is also the most religious modern nation. one important reason for this is that we have disentangled
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religion from public institutions. there has long been a commonplace assumption, one that my dear friend called the liberal expectancy. it was, and still is, an assumption that as science and the rationality -- as the disenchantment of the world's, pre-modern forces will lose their history. the two most important of these are religion. events refute the liberal expectancy. religion still drives history.
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religion is also central to the emergence of america's public philosophy. at the risk of offending specialists by distortion through compression, what we offer a very brief placement of americans foundries. machiavelli begins modern political philosophy. this spot is a convenient demarcation. the agents -- ancients saw to enlarge the likelihood of the emergence of noble leaders. machiavelli, however, took his bearings from people as they
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are. he defined the political project as making the best of this flawed material. he knew that nothing would ever be made from the crooked timber of humanity. machiavelli was no democrat. he reoriented politics towards accommodations, strong and predictable forces rising from a great constant, human nature common to all people in all stations. for 44 years, machiavelli and luther were contemporaries. machiavelli's print --live there
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was no democrat. in theory, and least of all in temperament. when summoned, he proclaimed, here i stand. i cannot do otherwise. he asserted the privacy of the individual and the individual's conscience. this expressed illogic of his theological radicalism -- the logic of his political radicalism. without fully intending to do so, he celebrated individualism at the expense of tradition and of hierarchy. he caused -- democracy was in humanity's future.
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he sought a ground of certainty, beyond revelation and beyond pure reason. he famously found such a ground in cognition itself. i think, therefore, i am. it was supplied the foundations for whatever certainties human beings can achieve.
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philosophy hobbe's that became the decisive. the bedrock of certainty came from his experience with religious warfare. this strife taught him that all human beings have one share it constant similarity. they all. death. -- fear death. he directed a philosophy of despotism. in exchange for security, people would willingly surrender the precious sovereignty they possessed in the state of nature where life was solitary, brutish, and short. his philosophy, contained the seeds of democracy.
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all human beings were equally under the sway of the narrative. all human beings can come up without the assistance of a priest, comprehend the basic passions that move the world. to the extent that the world of politics is driven by strong and steady passions and interests, to that extent, there will be a new science of politics. the science of politics based on what all human beings have in common, acknowledged supplied by the senses. because people do not agree about religious truths, and
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because they fight over their disagreements, social tranquillity is served by regarding religion as voluntary matter for private judgment. not state-supported and state enforced. in the interest of social peace, the higher aspirations of the ancient political philosophers were pushed to the margins of modern politics. those aspirations were considered, at best, unrealistic. at worst, downright dangerous. henceforth, politics would not be a sphere in which human nature is perfected. political project would not include appointing people towards their highest potentials. instead, a modern politics would be based on the assumption that people will express and will act upon the strong impulses of
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their flawed nature's. the ancients had asked, what is the highest of which mankind is capable? how can we pursue this in politics? hobbes asked, what is the worst that can happen in politics? and how can we avoid this? had a kind ofders political catechism that expressed modernity. what is the worst political outcome? tyranny. what a form of tyranny can happen any republic governed by majority rule? tyranny of the majority.
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how could this be prevented? the answer is by not having majorities that can become tyrannical. reducing the likelihood the stable and tyrannical majority can emerge and indoor -- endure. how was this to be achieved? by implementing james madison's revolution of democratic theory. of the diminutive madison, he was about 5 foot 3. never have there been such a high ratio of mind to mass. he was princeton's first graduate student and he turned democratic theory upside-down. before madison, few political theorists believe democracy
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could be feasible only in a small face to face society. this was supposedly so because factions were considered the enemy of popular government small societies were thought to be least susceptible to the proliferation of factions. madison's revolutionary theory, the core of which is distilled in federalist paper number 10, was that a republic should be small but extensive, expand the scope of the republic in order to expand the number of factions. the more factions, the merrier. saving multiplicity of factions will make it more probable that majorities will be unstable, shifting minority factions.
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madison related his clear eyed and unsentimental view to the constitution's structure. in federalist 51, he said, >> that is the self-interestedness of rival institutions, presidents, legislatures will check one another. madison famously continued, it may be a reflection on human nature that such device should be necessary to control the abuses of government but what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature. if men were angels no government would be necessary. if angels were to govern men,
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night external or internal controls on government would be necessary. so said madison, we must have a policy of supplying by opposite and rival interest that defect better not tives. but neither madison nor the other founding father's should predispose without there being good not tives somewhere. such not tives are man testations of good character. our founders were not so foolish as to suppose that freedom can thrive or survive without appropriate education and nourishments of character. they understood this must mean education broadly understood to include not just schools, but all the institutions of civil
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society that explain freedom and equip citizens with the virtues freedom requires. these virtues include strussness, self-control, mod ization. these reinforce the ration nalt essential to human happiness. notice when madison like the founding father's generally spoke of human nature, he was not speaking as modern progress ives do as manage inconstant, something evolving, something constantly formed and reformedly changing social and other historical forces. when people today speak of nature, they generally speak of flora and trees and an nals and other things not human. but the founders spoke of nature as a guide to and as a measure of human action.
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they thought of nature not as something merely to be manipulated for human convenience but rather as a source of norms to be discovered. they understood that natural rights could not be asserted, celebrated and defended unless nature, including human nature is regarded as a normative rather than a merely con ting nt fact. this was a view but tressed by the view of teaching that nature is not chaos but rather as the replace of employment of chaos in the mind and will of the creator. this is the creator who endows us with natural right that is are inevitable, inalienable and universal and hence the foundation of democratic
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quality. and these natural rights are the foundation of limited government. government defined by the limited goal of securing those rights so that individuals may flourish in their free and responsible exercise of those rights. a government thus limited is not in the business of imposing its opinions about what happiness or what excellence the citizens should choose to pursue. having such opinions is the business of other institutions, private and voluntary institutions, especially religious ones that supply the conditions of liberty. thus the founders did not consider natural rights reasonable because religion affirmed them, rather the founders considered religion
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reasonable because it secured natural rights. there may, however, be a cultural continue tra diction. the continue tra diction is while religion can sustain liberty, liberty does not necessarily sustain religion. this is of paramount importance because of the importance of the deck cla ration of independence. america's public philosophy is snilled in the declaration's second paragraph. we hold these truths to be self-evident. notice our nation was born with an assertion the important political truths are not merely knowable, they are self-evident, meaning they can be known by any mind, not clouded by ignorance or super stigsen it is the deck dra
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inflammation self-evident true that all men are created equal, equal not only in their access to the important political truths, but also in being endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights including life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. next comes perhaps the most important word in the declaration. it is the word secure. to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, jefferson wrote. that is government's primary purpose is to secure preexisting rights. government does not create rights, it does not dispense them. here, concerning the opening paragraphs of the declaration is where wilson and modern progressivism enter the american story.
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wilson urged people not to read what he called the preface to the declaration. he explicitly said if you wish to understand the real declaration of independence, do not read the preface. that is what everyone else calls the essence of the declaration of independence. wilson did so for the same reason he became the first president to criticize the american founding. and he did not criticize it about minor matters. he criticized it root and branch beginning with the doctrine of natural right which is he rejected. his criticism began there precisely because that doctrine dick tates a limited government which he considered a cramped unscientific understanding of political seasons. wilson disparraged the doctrine
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of natural rights as quote fourth of july sentiments." he did so because this doctrine limited the plan to make government more scientific in the service of a politics that is much for ambitious. wilson's form ma tive years were the years in which darwin's theory of evolution seeped into the social science, including political science. wilson the first president of the american political science association wanted the political project to make government evolve as human nature evolves. only by doing so he thought could government help human nature progress. this is why for progress ives progress meant progressing up from the founders and they are
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falls because static understanding of human nature. only government unleashed from the confining doctrine of natural rights could be muscular enough for this project. such a government needed not the founder's static constitution but a living constitution. a much more per misive constitution, that is the new progressive government needed the old constitution to be construed as granting to the government, powers sufficient for whatever projects the government decided or required for progress. what then about the framer's purpose of writing a constitution to protect people from popular passions. wilson argued that the evolution of society had
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advanced so far that such worries were acknist i can. the passions in society such as the united states had wilson believed been domesticated. they no longer threatened to be tyrannical or threat tnd social order. hence wilson thought the state emancipated from the founders static constitution should be and i quote him an instrumentalty for quickening in every way both collective and individual development. well, who was to determine what ways might not be suitable. the answer must be the government itself. wilson was as progressives tended to be a his or the cyst, that is someone with a strong cyst of tealology, history he thought had its own unfolding
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logic, it's autonomous trajectory, it's proper destination. it was the duty of leaders to discern the destination towards which history was progressing and to make government the unfettered better of this progress. progress ives tend to exalt the role of farsighted leaders and hence to exalt the role of the american president. this too puts them at odds with the founders. the words leader and leaders appear just 13 times in all of the fed ra list papers, once as a reference to those who led the revolution. the other dozen times are all in context of dispargment. the founders were warry of the people's potential for
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unrational and unruly passions and were therefore wear of leaders who would seek to asend to power by arousing ways of such passions. wilson however was unworried about what worried the founders. he said great passions when they run through a whole population inevitably find a great spokesman. in 1912 they found wilson. and he began building what we have today, the modern administrative regulatory state from the supervision of which no corner of life is immune. now, i will leave it to other more theologically grounded persons to decide whether or how the progressive doctrine of a changing human nature can be squared with the teachings of various relidgens.
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i will, however, postulate. this a nation such as ours steeped in and shaped by biblical religion cannot accommodate a politics that takes it's bearings from the proposition that human nature is a product of mallable forces and perhaps under perfection is a purpose of politics. i will go further, biblical religion is concerned with asserting and defending the dignity of the individual. biblical religion teach that is individual dignity is linked to individual responsibility and moral agency, therefore, biblical religion surely should be wear of the consequences of government unat the timered from the limited purpose of securing natural rights.
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do not take my word for it. take the word of alexis. he wrote democracy in america two generations after the american founding. two generations after madison identified tyranny of the majority as the distinctively worst political outcome that democracy could produce. he had a different answer than madison did to the question of what kind of december metism democratic nations have to fear. his warning is justly famous and more pert nt now than ever. this december pitism that worried him would be milder than traditional best metism
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would degrade men without tormenting them. it is absolute, detailed, regular, far seen and mild. it would resemble paternal power if like thatted the for its object to prepare men for manhood, button contrary it seeks only to keep them fixed irrevocable bli in childhood. it rarely works for their happiness but wants to be the sole ash or the for their happiness. it provides for their security, foresees and secures their needs, fasstates their pleasures, conducts their principle affairs, directs their industry, regular lates their es states, divides their inherentenses, can it not take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living? so it is he continued that
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every day it renders the employment of free will less useful and more rare. it confines the action of the will in a smaller space and little by little steals the very use of free will from each sid. it reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and strouse animals of which the government is the shepherd. each of us can, each of us must really decide to what extent this has been full filled. people of faith might ask this, does the tent si of modern politics to take on more and more tasks in order to e little rate the human conditions, does this tend to mute relidgens
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message about reconciling us to that condition. and people worry where religious institutions can flourish beneath the dark shade of the government that tries to splay every human need and satisfy every human appetite. to the extent that the politics of ma dernti aten waites the relinlen of society, to the extent it threatens society's prosperity and happiness. he understood this ifferving described himself as thee tropic by which he meant oriented to the divine. he explained why in he has words which a society needs more than sensible men and women if it is to prosper. it need the energy jiss of the
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creative imagination as expressed in the arts. it is crucial to the lives of all of our citizens as it is to all human beings at all times that they encounter a world that posseses a trance send nt meaning in which the human experience makes sense. nothing is more dehume nicing, more certain to generate a crisis than to experience one's life as a meaningless event in a meaningless world. we may be approaching what is for our nation unexplored and unperilous territory. europe is experiencing that and the results are not attractive. it seems that when a majority of people internalize the big bang theory and ask with peggy lee is that all there is, when
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many people decide the universe is the result of a cosmic sneeze with no meaning, when they conclude that therefore life should be filled, overflowing with distractions, comforts and entertainments to aswage the board m, then they may become suss september bling to the excitements of politics that promise ar sets meaning and spures al vations of a human condition berefts and therefore barren. we know from bitter experience of blood soaked 20th century the political consequences of this filt meaninginglessness. political nature of who are vacuum and a vacuum of meaning is filled by sec cue lar fighting faiths. fascism gave its adherence a
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meaningful life. communism taught it's adherence to dwive meaning from the participation in the drama of history's unfolding destiny. the political paradox is this, secularism advanced in part as moral revotion against the history of religious strife. but there is no precedence for bloodshed in the scale produced in the 20th century by political faiths. therefore even those of us who are members of the growing cohort that pugh calls nuns, we wish continued vigor for the rich array of religious institution that is have eleven vinned american life. we do so for reasons art lated
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by the most articulated american statesman. in 1859 beneath the clouds of war and disunion a successful railroad lawyer from across the river from less than 100 miles north of here, a lawyer turned presidential addressed a wisconsin ago griculechurel society. he concluded his speech with an farme that deviced a proposition to be carved in stone, to be forever in view and forever true. after some weeks they returned atnd proposition they offered to him was this too shall pass away. said abraham lincoln, how consoling that proposition is in times of grief, how
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chastening in times of pride and yet said lincoln it is not necessarily true. if he said, we americans cultivate the world within us as predidgesli as we cultivate the physical world around us, we perhaps shall long endure. we have long endured. we shall continue to the. this is so in large measure because of america's whole some division of labor between political institution and the intermediary institutions of civil society. including especially religious institutions that mediate between the sid and the state. the mediating institutions crucial to the flourishing of st. louis include this university, this center and
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crucial to the dan forget family. thank you and thank them for you're attention and now i welcome your comments. i thank you very much. >> we are having time for q&a. we have standing mikes if you will queue at the mikes we will take your turn and we will end promptly at 8:30 which gives us about 20 minutes. >> i appear to have answered every question. >> thanks for coming. what would you see -- one of the arguments for less government involvement with things is that if people hold on to their money more, they would be in a position to take care of the poor, the oh
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pressed etc. can you imagine where else that might come from? do you think it's possible for those people to be taken care of outside of a religious context and outside of a political context and are there any examples of that in other government? >> i am not denying the role which americans of all political persuasions now agree on that the state has in applying a social safety net. i am saying there are potential cost to this and not only financial cost. there is a cost of a crowding out of private initiative, a crowding out of charity. an off loading of all social responsibilities on to the state. it is indick cative surely of something important that the chartable impulse in the united
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states is far stronger than it is in europe. and the welfare states are far stronger in europe than they are in the united states. the united states has been tardy some people say backward, i say prudent in not off loading so much of social responsibility on to the state. that's all i'm saying. that there is a cost beyond the financial cost of the entitlement state that ought to be thought about, particularly because right now this becomes extremely practical as we scramble around looking for revenues to fund the entitlement state. people say one way to get more revenues is to limit chartable deductions so the state grows and at the same time simetainsly and because of that limits the chartable eff fy casi of the chartable impullingsth pulse. >> do you think outside of
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religious organizations or the government, do you think something else would fill that vacuum? >> lots of things. the democracy in america, still the greatest book written. he wrote it when we were just becoming a mass democracy and nothing struck him more than the american society in generating spontaneous order of voluntary associations. it's no other country is like this. when the wagon trades would leave -- a great american his attorney who was librarian of congress. he wrote about the second day out they circumstance it would wagens and write a constitution for the wagon train and assign tasks and have committees.
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it's in our national d.n.a., partly because we believe in govern answer from the bottom up. >> thank you so much. this was a wonderful lecture. i only hope that conservism has more defenders in the coming decade. i have a couple of questions. one kind of piggy backs. you said at the beginning of your these sis that religion is in the place of civil society where we discuss and define our moral values, religion should be separated from politics, continuing on what is the danger of having government and politics continually encroach upon a civil society that is supposed to be separate from that? and separate from that i really enjoyed everything you said. my question regarding the logic of your argument is how do you
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have this idea that biblical religion supports human rights with the fact that christianity and the bible has changed dramatically over the last 2,000 years? >> i would argue that the esens of chris exanty has not changed over the last 2,000 years. it is been used for political purposes and people tend to piggy back their political agendas on to all kind of man kind inhert answer the. but biblical relidge season a constant of human nature. i do not think and certainly did not intend to say that a belief in natural rights needs to be grounded in religion. jefferson believes our rights
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don't depend on our religious beliefs. i do believe it is the case that religious people are grounded in the right are natural because nature was designed by a creator have a particularly strong foundation for a belief in our rights. >> thank you so much for being here. it's an honor. did you ever consider running for political office, what were the determining factors and would you ever consider it in the future? >> no to the first question. i live in maryland. there are only three republicans in maryland. and second public life would cut into my baseball too much. third, i have a metabolic urge to write. i can't stop and so that would interfere. >> please don't. keep it up. >> thank you very much.
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>> i'm curious. i know in a lot of your comments you date the modern expansion of government going back to wilson. i'm curious could as gillette get going beyond -- as you look at going beyond, it speaks very much to that. >> you are absolutely right. lincoln expanded executive power more than anybody ever envisioned. he did so exclusively under the war powers of the constitution. the emancipation proclamation was explicitly [indiscernible]
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in the war powers. i have offended someone. lincoln said when he suspended habeas corpus, he did so when congress was out of session. when -- as soon as congress permission. saought all power to jefferson who had the audacity to invent -- embed a doctrine of natural rights. all of my political sentiments, all of my political sentiment derived from the declaration. there is no sense in which
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woodrow wilson, although he did expand executive powers in peacetime, there is no sense in which he is in lincoln's position. >> thank you. >> thank you for your excellent lecture. towards the end of your lecture comet you mentioned that in the 20th century, secular and political faiths have killed more people than religious faiths. i can only assume you were talking about soviet russia and nazi germany. were these regimes possible because of the uniformity?
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if that is the case, how did the myriad number of protestant denominations in the united states provide a unique defense against tyranny? >> i would not say -- i was not referring to just the soviet union and nazi germany. communist china killed a former -- far more of those two tyrannies combined, with no christian heritage to speak of. there are serious scholars that makes serious arguments that there is something and the hirst temperament -- luther's temperament that was germanic. he was no democrat.
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the more, the merrier. religious factions or alternative sources of social authority. what you want is a society in which the state does not monopolized social authority. >> you talked extensively about religion in the united states contributing to [inaudible] there is one particular force that think they can inflict their views on this country. they insist said it was the intention of the founding fathers to create a christian
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equivalent of iran, which i do not think is the case. just because you are religious, it does not make you write all the time. >> did in line with everybody else. -- gets in line with everybody else. with respect, i disagree with what you just said. the religious right, which i obviously am not a member, rose after the religious left in the form of the reverend martin luther king and jesse jackson, etc., etc.. the religious right was provoked into politics. the tradition among many protestants was political
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quietism. and then the supreme court decided that the constitution required that there be at exclusion of religion from the public square in the removal of prayer from schools. deeply offended a great many americans. 40 years ago, next month, they delivered the final provocation for the legitimate political purpose of trying to save the culture. i note a great many people work them up into a frenzy about the threats of theocracy. you use the comparison of iran. good lord. down to the point of which it
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becomes a matter of major -- we are so far from any possible menace of religious orthodoxy. try to have a prayer at a high- school football game in texas. you'll find alcohol for a lee the supreme court have -- you will find out how thoroughly the supreme court has but brick upon brick. there is zero grounds. i do not see it. nor do i think in the members of the religious right, and i know many of them come at any desire to tyrannize in . they went into politics because they felt they were attacked. they want to be left alone. [applause]
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>> i appreciate you as a voice of reason. [inaudible] my question is more about historical and interpretation. we share that --, and planned to use think the united states -- what do think it keeps us so deeply in our ongoing philosophy of what democracy should be? >> that is a separate question.
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there are two in my ignorance. the continental french a might meant and the british and alignment. they differ radically. the british enlightenment was empirical and temperate. the french enlightenment was severe. one gave rise to be glorious revolution and eventually the american revolution. the french enlightenment gave rise to the french revolution and a blood bath. this sounds like a philosophy seminar. what do we know and how do we know it? the french are great believers in deductive reasoning. the british, in the tradition of skepticism which make sure
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tentative about the fallibility. >> thank you for your lecture. me and my husband moved to germany. when i considered entering into adulthood, how can i contribute to society? it is very difficult to give any sort of charity for any charitable purposes in europe. it is very difficult to give service in europe. when i was asking people, they said, why would we serve? there is a bureau for that. there are some places in europe
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burk it is illegal to give volunteer service. as i see the united states going in the same trend of all sourcing -- outsourcing, it is so overregulated and so over controlling of your life, it takes away your freedom to even support yourself, how would you propose the government relinquished power is that it has taken over peacefully? how do you think the government would be able to let go of this control of our lives? >> i agree with every syllable you just said. [applause] -- [laughter]
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you almost provoked me to be more political than i felt comfortable doing in this chapel. leave more space, more breathing room for civil society. this astonishing combustion of voluntary association. in my remarks, i used the analogy of a tree. in the shade of which, smaller things cannot grow. that is the danger of an excess of state. >> [inaudible] how can we get them to take the laws out? [applause]
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>> we are almost at a time. -- out of time. >> you were raised in a secular household. and how you still classify yourself as not being religious. he still believed to be the correct position. you also mentioned the benefits of religion. this interesting paradox where if everybody held the position you do, we would lose the benefits of religion. how do you reconcile that? >> you are right. it is an empirical question. not a question of logic. it is an empirical question.
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society can be prosperous and virtuous and freed without religious sustenance. the biggest laboratory for that is post-christian europe. it is not promising. even though the european union -- it is a fair question. the logic of my argument is there are a lot more people like me, we would be in big trouble. i think that may be true. >> thank you. >> what are your views on the present state and the future state of the american nuclear family? >> without any doubt, america's
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biggest problem is not the debt. the fiscal cliff and other metaphorical geology. the biggest problem in america is family disintegration. family is the primary transmitter of social capital. [applause] 1964, lyndon johnson's labor department, produced a report. there is a crisis in the negro family today because 24% of african-americans children are being born to unmarried parents. 57% -- 24% in 1964. today, one-third of all american children are born to
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unmarried mothers. we know what this means. we know the social pathology. we know the problem of a constantly -- we know about what that means in terms of neighborhoods and schools. we have no idea what happened. we do not know why in 1950, the out-of-wedlock birth rate was 5%. we have seen family disintegration during war, famine, and pestilence. it has happened in wales, portugal, spain, all over. we do not know why. we do not know what to do about it.
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i will give an answer that will interest and amuse the previous questioner. when two things coincided in late 18th-century england, a grain surplus, the result was a cheap gin and a social calamity. they passed a few laws, licensing laws, it did not help. what turned britain a round was john wesley. methodism. converting the women of england -- [laughter] that is the way it worked. it is an odd thing for me to be saying. >> you talked about the virtuous -- virtues freedom requires.
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i worked in the field of education. in the kedging, -- if our major problem children come to school without virtues, it is the public school system the place to nurture that? i believe our society and culture does not nurture those virtues. how do we address that? >> this is a good question. the family is the smallest school. by the time all lots of negligently parentage, often at
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no-fault to the single mother, these children get to school, and it is too late. the chicago schoolteacher it says should its first graders who do not know numbers, shapes, or colors. they're raised in a culture of silence except for the television. it is america's biggest problem. and on that cheerful note, thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
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>> here is what is ahead this christmas save. james taylor and his recent appearance at the national press club. michelle obama shows children the white house holiday decorations. after that, a look at the affect hollywood has on public policy. on tomorrow morning's "washington journal, a look at the biggest foreign policy events of 2012. the biggest political stories of 2012 with fox news political analyst juan williams. the senate returns from legislative business on thursday. the house has a session scheduled that day.
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the senate is in at 10:00 for work on two bills. it would extend provisions of the foreign intelligence surveillance act. the other is a $60 billion a relief package for areas affected by hurricane sandy. you can follow live coverage of the senate on c-span2. house members are on standby as negotiations continue over the so-called fiscal cliff. debate on a deal is possible. james taylor performed and spoke of the national press club earlier this month. he talked about president obama's reelection, the war in iraq, and the fiscal cliff. this is one hour and 10 minutes.
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for more information about the national press club, a visit our web site, www.press.org. to donate to the program through our national institutes, please visit press.org/institute. on behalf of our members, i would like to welcome our speaker and those of you attending today. our table includes guest of our speaker and working journalists who are members of the press club. if you hear applause, we would note that members of the general public are attending.
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it is not necessarily a lack of journalistic conductivity. i would also like to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences. our lunches are also featured on our weekly podcaster on the national press club. you can also follow on twitter using #npclunch. i will ask as many questions as time permits. now i would like to introduce our guest and i would ask of you to stand is your name is announced. from your right, michael phelps, publisher and ceo of the washington examiner. doris, president and editorial associates. jerry, buffalo news and former national press club president. laura lee, producer, npr.
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kim taylor, and james's wife. donna, usa today, former national press club presidents. marylou donohue, she organized today's event. john crumpler, guest of the speaker. former president of the national press club. mark bueno. [applause] thank you for joining us today. i really do not need to introduce james taylor to you in that we all feel that we know him and his music. but i will take a moment to remind you of how and why we have come to feel we know him.
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mr. taylor's music embodies the art of song writing at its most personal and universal. he is a master read describing specific situations in a way that resonates with people from everywhere. for more than 40 years, he has been articulating moments of the pain and joy and letting his listeners know they are not alone. james taylor has sold close to 100 million albums and his career. that is a very big number. look up to the stars on a clear night, that is what 100 million looks like. he has sung in locations by carnegie hall, fenway park.com at president obama's inauguration and the academy awards. he is a 5-time grammy award winner and was inducted to the rock-and-roll hall of fame in 2000. he is a recipient of the national medal of art and he has
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found time for politics. among the most active in the obama campaign, james taylor crisscrossed the country in support of the president, performing with his wife spreading the campaign message wherever and whenever he was called upon to do so. he worked for the president and progressive causes and began in 2008 when he performed in five cities in north carolina and. his efforts generated thousands of volunteers and helped win the state for the democrats for the first time since 1976. the last year has been a busy for them on the campaign trail, over 50 radio and television interviews and 40 events, from concerts' and field offices to opening the final night of the democratic national convention.
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just yesterday, he helped brighten up washington, d.c. by performing at the lighting of the national christmas tree. his music was with us as we celebrated the season, our family and country. i would like to welcome james taylor. [applause] >> thank you, bill, thank you, susan, for the cupcakes. i got a fire one myself. mighty tasty. you know, i titled this thing today election reform because i thought i needed to have a title. i probably know less about
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election reform then pretty much everybody in the room. i will talk a little bit about it toward the end. really, what i wanted to do it is described a pilgrim's progress through the political process as a surrogate. i will start actually as i used to start and have started many of my performances in the past, with a song. this is a song -- it is the earliest of my songs. not the first song i wrote because that is unlistenable. this is the song i played for -- i am nervous today but on this occasion i was clinically nervous. i played for george harrison and paul mccartney in london.
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and in february of 1968, i had been lucky enough to get an opportunity to audition for apple records. they were signing acts. i was 19 years old. i had my guitar and i had the song that i played for them. i will play it for you now. ♪ is that coming across? ♪ it is something in the way she moves ♪ the way she calls my name seems to leave the troubled world behind if i'm feeling down and bloom she always seems to change my mind
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i feel fine any time she is around she is around me now almost all the time if i am well you can tell she's been with me now she has been with me now quite a long, long time and i feel fine. every now and then the things i've knkown lose their meaning and i find myself careening into places where i should not let me go she has a power to go where no one else can find me
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and silently remind me of the happiness and the good times that i know i guess i got to know them how she thinks or where she has been to me, the words are nice, the way they sound i like to hear them best that way it does not matter much what they mean she says them mostly just to calm me down i feel fine any time she is around me now
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she is around me now i guess it just about all the time if i am well you can tell she has been with me now she's been with me now quite a long, quite a long, long time and i feel fine ♪ [applause] so it turned out well. i was nervous. it was a faster and higher than i just played it. i was younger. i was having an out of body experience being in the same room as the two living beatles.
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i was a huge beatles fan. he liked it enough that he signed me to the label. george harrison liked it enough he went home and wrote it himself. [laughter] actually, i ripped off so many beatles tunes that turnabout is fair play. how do i get into politics? basically from being a professional autobiography for. is it false advertising to attract people and then ask them to pay attention to something else? i suppose a little bit, it is. but i feel motivated in these past elections by what a wonderful president i think barack obama is and how important it is that he get a
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chance to govern, if possible. but, anyway, my father gave me my politics. that happens with a lot of us. we grew up in north carolina. i am a yellow dog democrat, as he was, an unapologetic liberal. a definite progressive in my politics and beliefs. in a way, i think i was defined
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-- i'm surprised to hear myself say it -- defined by jesse helms, to a certain extent. in north carolina, he owned the only tv station. he would go on -- the programming was thin on the ground. he would go on and deliver these screens or harangues, rants. those of us living in north carolina, where my father worked for the university, he had studied medicine in cambridge in massachusetts. he had met my mother there. but he had moved to the family back to north carolina. chapel hill was a progressive enclave in those days and jesse helms would refer to it on his tv editorial as communist hill.
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in a way, that defined -- it was an early point as an antagonist, i feel as though he helped defined me politically. over the years i have tried, unsuccessfully, a sad succession of north carolina democrats trying to unseat jesse helms. i never managed to do it. we never managed to do it. my friend john actually got my wife kim and i deeply involved in the obama campaign. he is nodding his head because he knows about jesse helms. my father and his generation, i remember the first political campaign i am aware of being my
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family being enthusiastic about that they stevenson over eisenhower. my father in chapel hill, and his generation, they built a bridge. they were pro-higher education, infrastructure, they were liberal in their politics and progressive. they were deeply anti- segregationist and in jim crow. built in that area something called the research triangle that depended on education, higher education, and which has paid huge dividends and opened the road to the new south, as we think of it today.
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my father would have been coming in 2008, would have been so proud to see barack obama elected in north carolina, to see the state go for barack obama. sadly, it was not to happen again in 2012, although we worked hard at it. anyway, my first campaign that i actually was involved with was mcgovern in 1972. i think my wife kim has the bumper sticker that says "don't blame me, i'm from massachusetts." i think massachusetts was the only state to go for mcgovern, sadly. kim also took a year off between high-school and college and a ring doorbells and called people up for that at the field office in upstate new york.
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i worked with carol king and barbra streisand. we did a couple of concerts. it was 3/4 mcgovern as a time signature, me, and carol, and a barbara streisand. in the years since then, i have gotten involved with a number of people in massachusetts, gary studds, ted kennedy, i worked on his campaign, i worked for elizabeth warren this pastime. i have written it down, if i could find it. i worked for dukakis and
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mondale and gore and kerry, a long list, clinton and jimmy carter. i have worked on john anderson's campaign. the only non-democrat in the bunch. so, it was natural, being politically active, that i would get involved in the campaign of 2008. i really, i was motivated by eight years of dick cheney-bush. i say it in that order on purpose. it was a tough time for me. i really suffered. it made me ambivalent about my country, that we would choose that, even if we did not
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actually choose him -- [laughter] that is what represented us in the world. i felt as though, after september 11, the diversion, and the distraction of the nation's concern and energy into iraq was unpardonable. i felt what -- it was inept and corrupt and opaque. those were tough years for me. i was motivated to see barack obama, sort of a surprise, really. i could not believe we had gotten such a real person, to make it through the filter system of our politics. it meant a lot to me.
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i know it would have meant a huge amount to my father. i think of him often. so, again, in 2012, kim and i went on the road for obama. we did about three dozen events. it restored my faith in the country, to meet these people who had committed themselves to this reelection campaign. it was the largest grass-roots event we have ever seen in this country. the people involved were fundamentally such good people, i felt. it really meant a lot to me to be involved in an. they were smart, too. they did it really well. they were committed to this
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mission and they really carried it out beautifully. i should say also that although i am a relentless democrats, i do believe that a dialogue between a reasonable dialogue between republicans and democrats is what keeps the country on course and in balance. by ourselves, liberals would probably steer us toward a nanny style state and republicans would go toward oligarchy and inherited wealth and power. i do think we need a strong republican party and a dialogue between left and right. but paralysis seems to be the order of the day.
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i will rant on and on and i promised him i would not do too much of that. it was a delight been involved in the campaign, the obama campaign. we had a wonderful time. we went back to north carolina. we played the song a lot. i'm not going to play the whole thing. it is too long. ♪ in my mind i am going to carolina. can you feel the sunshine? it is like a friend of mine that hit me from behind
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carolina in my mind i am on the dark side of the noon it goes on like this forever he must forgive me if i am going to caroline in my mind in my mind i am going to carolina can't you see the sunshine can't you just feel the
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moonshine ain't it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind yes, i am going to carolina in my mind i'm going to carolina in my mind ♪ ♪ ♪ [applause] i have written a very few overtly political songs.
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here come the couple of them. i will play you the first verse of a song called "line em up" which is about how things in this life tend to line up. ♪ oh, i remember richard nixon in 1974 ♪ staff lined up just to say goodbye tiny tear, he said nobody knows me nobody understands i'm going to shake some hands somebody lined them up line 'em u line 'em all up
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em all upp, line ♪ >> not really a song about nixon. it was fascinating to watch him on camera. he was at the podium saying goodbye, farewell. then he had a staging problem. i was interested in how they handled it. nixon did not have a great walker. if you have seen those depictions of the evolution of man -- [laughter] coming from the primordial ooze
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and slowly walking on all fours and then finally ending on the extreme with cro-magnon man walking along, analyzing everything. nixon's walk was a couple of characters back from that guy. they did not want to focus on it. so they lined up all of the employees and he went down the line like a receiving line, saying goodbye to all of them. it was quite moving, saying hello and goodbye for the first and last time. and then at the end of the line he was on the helicopter and out of there. this next song is a more political song, "slap weather." the first verses about ronald reagan and leaving office. if i am not mistaken, it was my
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impression that one of the first things he did after leaving office was except a speaking engagement in japan for $2 million. is that right? for some reason, that took me back. today it would just go off my back like nothing had happened. what is more natural? but at the time -- so. ♪ take all the money we need for school spend it on a weapon you can never use make the world an offer they cannot refuse open up the door and let the shark-men feed sell the ponderosa to the japanese slap leather
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go on, ron just about to go myself turn the world into a tv show it is the same game wherever you go one big advertisement for the status quo as if you knew how the story ends as if you are not sitting in a room alone and there was somebody real at the end of the telephone somebody real just about to dial your number ♪
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♪ get all worked up go back to war tie that yellow ribbon a side of fries big mac falafel stormin' norman i used to love a parade big mac falafel just about to go myself ♪ [applause] "big mac falafel" in the code
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for the oversimplification of the arab world and the tendency of american foreign policy at the time to think that you could fix and watch with a hammer. yeah, so we did. we went on the road and in many ways had our faith in the american process and our country restored by meeting some wonderful, committed people, who really mean extremely well and have the future of this country in their hearts and minds. but we raised the better part of $10 million, and it ain't right, you know? i do not know a lot about election reform, but it seems it breaks into two areas.
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one is the campaign and the other is the actual election itself. fixing the campaign is going to be tough, trying to get the money out of it, trying to get some forms in the place of our debates that actually give us a clear idea of who the candidate is and what they intend for the country -- that is a difficult and tall order. trying to streamline it so that it does not take two years to run for public office. these are difficult things to accomplish, and i do not know how we go about it. it seems as though there is a sign of election reform, the process itself, the day of elections that would be reasonably easy to do something about.
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for me, i have just come through an election, so, of course, as all of you have, probably as intensely if not more so than i have, with the press. but it seems as though -- to me, the vote is sacred. it is the democratic moment. it is the moment of the actual act of self-government is when we choose our representatives. and in the american experiment, this democratic light of the world -- it seems to me as though the vote is the moment, and why we -- we have off the 4th of july, independence day, and we give those days off, so it just seems --
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[applause] we have -- there was something like 60%, 63% participation of eligible voters this election. off-year elections it is more like the 40%. average them out, we get 50% of our voters to the polls, and that is not good enough for what america is and for what it means. for some reason, we are dropping that ball. we need to have that day off to vote, we need to have the polls open for a week. when we identify people, officially identify people, they should be registered as soon as somebody has an official name and address. they should be able to get a
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note in the mail that tells them where to go to vote. this business -- the question of gerrymandering for congressional districts is a profound conundrum. i do not know how we fix that. but we can at least get people to get to the polls in greater numbers. there are a lot of people who do not want to go in the other direction, who want fewer people to vote, and these voter i.d. laws that are in the name of preventing voter fraud, i take it is a solution without a problem. the voter fraud in this country is pretty much equal to either side and is so low that the amount of people who are discouraged from voting by these new i.d. laws, it is just a bad idea in my opinion.
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also, if you are concerned about voter fraud, a paper trail for diebold voting machines, some kind of accounting possibility for diebold machines so we can check every hundredth machine at its day paper trail is a much better and a much more effective way to ensure against voter fraud. you can go on google, fined 20 different tracking experiments that people have performed on these diebold machines, and diebold wears its political heart on its sleeve. they contribute hugely to political campaigns. a paper trail for these machines would be an excellent idea to make sure it is not being hacked, because it has been repeatedly proven that it is embarrassingly easy to hack these diebold machines. that needs to happen.
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anyway, that is the election reform part of my speech, and i am going to end with another song, that kim and i sang when we were at out at the trail. kim actually thought until she was about 12 years old, she thought the picture of fdr on her grandmother's mantelpiece was her grandfather. [laughter] her grandmother was such a fervent new-dealer that she inoculated came into liberal politics. ♪ ♪ o beautiful for spacious skies for amber waves of grain
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for purple mountain majesties above above the fruited plains america, america god shed his grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea from sea to shining sea
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♪ [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you for sharing with us your love for politics and how passionate you are free. have you ever thought about running for public office? >> with my personal history -- [laughter] that would be a massacre. [laughter] it would be fun to cover, though. [laughter]
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no. >> within the last year, bonnie raitt made a comment -- as far as i can see, we had an auction instead of an election. would you comment? >> this citizens united decision is a disaster. it is the wrong direction to head in. it is polluting. the fact that we can go through two years of paying very close attention to who these two men are and have no idea what mitt romney's plan for the country was -- you know, a billion dollars spent on advertising, citizens united is a disaster, and i talked to jim messina, who was so instrumental in the obama re-election organization. he feels as though -- i hope i
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am not speaking out of school to say this -- he feels we need a constitutional amendment to protect voters rights and to also protect our collections -- elections from the pollution of this amazing amount of money. i agree with bonnie. i do not know if it is an auction, but the money is a distraction. it does not to give us good information about who these people are. now, noam chomsky says that the size of a piece of information is to make it as short as it is today is an effective way of censoring, is a censorship to shorten our pieces of information, because it gives us the opportunity to say something that people already know. but the amount of time that it
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takes to contradict a sort of known perceived consensus of reality and perceived wisdom to disassemble that and to build into someone's mind in an argument an alternative way of seeing things, it just takes much too long for the way we communicate today. i do not know what to do about that. one of the main problems that liberals have had one of the questions we ask ourselves and frequently is, how do we communicate our message? it is such a good message. why can't we communicate this to people? why can't we tell them what we have in mind? i think it is because people are looking for simple answers to complex questions, and when you rush in with a simple answer, people will flock to you.
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that is what i meant when i said fix a watch with a hammer. that is off of the question. that is another amazing thing that reagan taught in those debates. you asked ronald reagan a question, and he would enter the question that he knew the answer to where he just absolutely -- no problem whatsoever, and he would say, yeah. [laughter] it is amazing. we see it more and more often, too, that you answer the question that you know and ask me the next order, please. >> would you be upset if president obama compromised too much with republicans in order to avoid going over the fiscal cliff? >> oh, yeah, i would be.
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you know, i think it is remarkable that right after the election we get this thing that comes right up in our faces that basically outlines in bold relief the differences in the two ideas about how we go forward in this country. it is really excellent timing, and we may have to go over the cliff, if it is forced into it. but this idea that you bring down the cost of medicare by making it unavailable to more people is a terrible idea of mr. boehner's. the idea -- i would be terribly upset, along with many of my friends, if obama compromised
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too much on what needs to happen that is called the fiscal cliff. >> do you think a prominent third-party would help our country? >> i felt strongly about that when i supported john anderson in 1979. he was -- a large part of anderson's campaign was to sue the state ballot procedure into allowing third parties to have more access to the electoral process. i would like to see a third party available, but that, too, seems like a really tall order. >> what do you think is the appropriate role for actors and celebrities to play in the political arena? >> i think if you are a really motivated committed citizen who feels very strongly about either
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an issue or a candidate, you get involved. you go out and do it regardless of what it means. as i said, i have got this long history as a yellow-dog democrat liberal, and i do not think anyone is surprised to see me, and i think my republican friends tolerate it and largely forgive me for it. but i know there are other people who take a real hit. i think bruce springsteen is a very brave to support obama. i think a lot of his audience is angered by that. in a way it seems like a form of selling out. you have to feel really strongly about it. it can feel like a betrayal to people to see something politicized.
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that speaks to the nature of how low politics has sunk, that people think of it as a betrayal. you know, again, if you feel strongly, i think you get involved. >> can you tell us what it was like to perform at the democratic national convention? >> it was in north carolina -- so i knew what song to play. it was not being carried that moment by the national networks. i felt as though i did not feel the stress and the extra burden of being on television, which always affects me negatively. it was good. it was nice to be home. it felt like the right thing. charlotte was an electrifying for that week. it was a great convention.
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we loved being there. >> i would like to shift to music, if you music questions. you mentioned that your first record label was apple. i was wondering how much did the beatles help launch her musical career? >> just being signed and allow to make that first album and being the first artist signed did their label was a huge amount of attention for me to get. it allowed me to make my first record, and that got me my next deal with warner brothers. i do not think that the beatles themselves were in any way charged with the mission of publicizing james taylor. signing me was enough.
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>> what do you think is your secret for your long success? >> oh, i have got a great audience, and i love them. i love the people that come and see me. they have supported me for such a long time, and they as well are lovely people, and i feel very at home, very comfortable with them. as i said, increasingly grateful as time goes by, and that and just the great good fortune of being healthy -- again, it is a music that does not tear you up to sing it. there are some people like kurt cobain and saying, how does that feel when you are 50? sadly, we did not get a chance to see it, but i am sure it would have turned into something that was beautiful and worthy.
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it is a kind of music that lets you carry on with it. you know, it all comes down to good luck. >> you are known for your incredible solo career, but you have also done duets with tony bennett and natalie cole. who's your favorite duet partner? >> do i get in trouble for this? [laughter] there haven't been all that many. i can mention all of them. i have loved working with mark knopler, with allison kraus on that beautiful tribute she did, linda ronstadt. there are many. of course, carole king, joni mitchell.
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>> it is impossible to choose. but is there anybody you would like to perform with that you have not? >> i would like to perform with harry belafonte if i could. we did a series of concert at carnegie hall, and i asked harry if he would sing one of the songs that i grew up listening to of his, but he is pretty much decided he is not going to do that anymore. yeah, harry belafonte. >> what was the first song that you could truly play on your guitar? >> "keep on truckin', mama. [laughter] >> can you still play it? >> i still play it. you do not want to hear that. [laughter]
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this is where things go south. ea, mama n truckin trucking my blues away keep on trucking mama ♪ etc. [applause] >> did you take lessons or are you self-taught on the guitar? >> i am self-taught, but a lot of people showed me stuff. they were not formal lessons, but that is how it worked. the great folk scare of the mid 1960's, as we now call it. [laughter] we did.
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we would share licks and everybody would walk around with a guitar, all the time. we thought that was normal. [laughter] >> your playing style is relaxed. using your thumb, forefinger and middle finger in your picking. did you develop that style on your own or were you influenced by anyone? >> i was influenced by a guy named travis, merle travis, and he had something called travis picking, but he probably learned it from somebody else. it was kind of a walking bass. ♪ i threw in this finger. that was the beginning of it but it is the sort of -- it allows you to play a bass line and it is a pianistic style, because
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you can play the right hand with your thumb. >> what gave you an idea to play a slow version of "handy man"? >> we had recorded songs and were ready to put down basic tracks, and then you come back and you sing the finished the vocal on it or put color -- other elements on it. we finished the three songs, and we still had an hour and a half of studio time left before the meter ran out. my friend danny said, you always liked that song "handy man. why don't we do that? we came up with a 15-minute version of it.
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that's how it went down. just off the top of our heads. >> what inspired you to write "sweet baby james"? >> i had been overseas, abroad, making my apple album. when i came home, i was keen to see a little baby, and i drove down to north carolina and kept thinking about wouldn't it be nice to have a cowboy lullaby to sing this little new baby james? like roy rogers or gene autry, there will be blue shadows on the trail, go to sleep, you little buckaroo. and that was the idea behind it.
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♪ a young cowboy living on the range sleeps in the canyon just waiting for summer the past your's changed he sits by his fire thinking about women and glasses of beer and closing his eyes as the doggies retire he soinths his song -- sings out his song that is soft and is clear just as
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someone maybe could hear he saysgoodnight my sweet baby james for the colors i choose won't you let me combo down in my dreams yes rockabye my sweet baby james ♪ [applause] sorry, i turned off my amplifier. is that how much time we have got left? >> i am told we can run a little longer if you want to keep going on with it. [applause]
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>> people dashing for the door. lock them in. [laughter] >> most songwriters say their songs are like children, but do you have a favorite song that you have written? >> that one. that one, i think. yeah. ♪ there's a song that they sing when they take to the highway and the song that think sing when they take to the sea a song that they sing maybe you can believe it it might help you to sleep and the singing seems to work fine for me and rockabye old sweet baby
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james ♪ [applause] yeah, that is my favorite. >> do you still write your songs down with paper and pencil? >> yes, i do. i have always carried a little recording device of some sort. they used to be pretty big, but now they are quite small, and i always carry a pen and paper, and i am ready if something occurs to me. >> you mentioned merle travis unlessed you on your guitar-playing style. what other musicians? >> ry cooder is my favorite guitar player, but there are many others to choose from. there was an album that was a
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-- so formative for me. there was a guy coming up called tom rush who played here at the cellar door, and he played in boston at the 47. i really pattern myself after, just a guy with a guitar, full musician, unapologetic folk musician. i would say those two and the beatles. >> what do you think of current pop music? >> you know, i guess i do not like it a whole lot. [laughter] [applause] >> i sound just like my dad. there are great people out there. i know it. and don't mean to condemn it,
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blanket condemn it. but, you know, i think it's passed me by a little bit. i still have a wonderful career and a beautiful audience that i really love but the spotlight is elsewhere now and i'm a known quantity now. and that's fine with me to play out this hand. but i don't pay a whole lot of attention to -- i never did listen much to the radio. when i was a kid, i did. i don't listen to music much. kim works with the boston symphony and we get a lot of classical music in the house. we have 11-year-old twin boys and they have their preferences, maybe it's because they're playing most of the popular music i'm hearing in the house i
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have such a negative take on it. >> do you have an ipod? >> no, an ipad. >> do you listen to music on there? >> no, i listen on cd and vinyl. >> they have said taylor swift is named after you. what do you think of her music? >> i like her music. >> because she has got a great name? >> yes. i like the name too. i do think she is a creative singer song writer. she's a remarkable marketing phenomenon and if she can survive that. and it's a hard thing to survive i think. but she seems to have a very clear head on her shoulders and i think if anyone can, she can make it through and continue to
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evolve as an artist because it's sort of the marketing hit is if you're lucky enough to be successful, that particular passage that an artist has to make, if he's lucky enough or she's lucky enough can be a real jarring life changing event. it can really shake you up, going from being very private to very public. >> many people have said daniel day lewis portrayal of lincoln in the current film remind them of you. [laughter] do you have any comment on that? i hear you have seen the movie. >> i've seen the movie and it doesn't look like me to me but i live in here. john williams who is a dear friend and this generation's remarkable musician and
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composer, john wanted me to play that part. he actually stood up for me there and suggested me at one point. that was never going to happen. i don't know. i'm flattered. of course, everybody loves lincoln, i do. but i don't see other than the fact that we're both tall and somewhat skinny, he speaks much better in public than i do. >> is there a role you would like to play? >> no, this is fine. [laughter] it is very unusual. i've spent my life being myself for a living and i think more than really -- more than anyone else i think i know. i think there are performers who
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develop and assume a character that they then play for the public. but i don't know anyone who is as much themselves publicly for a living as i am. so it's been an interesting ride. but i don't think i'm qualified to really understand it well, no. >> several people sent this question up so i feel obligated to ask, do you know who carly simon was singing about in "you're so vain" and will you share that with us? >> i think it's warren beatty. >> and he says not. >> that's what my information was but again that information has not been updated for 40 years. [applause] >> now that that the turnpike extends past the city to the
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airport, any thoughts about revising the song? >> you mean the turnpike no longer ends in boston, it goes all the way to summerset, no. what town is the airport in? >> that's got a ring to it but it doesn't rhyme. that's the thing is the internal rhyme. that song has four rhyming schemes going at once. it's got to be boston unless they take it to austin, texas. [applause]
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>> i want to thank all of you for joining us this afternoon. this has been absolutely terrific. i want to remind you of our next lunch on december 18, we have leon panetta, i'm sure if you have some advice on how to solve the fiscal cliff, i'm sure hed like to hear that. >> while you are writing your next song, i'd like to present you with your coffee mug. i think that will combo well with your songwriting and -- go well with your songwriting and guitar playing. it might give you some inspiration. >> thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you for coming today. i want to thank the national press club staff including the journalism broadcast center for organizing today's event. you can find more information at
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www. press.org. and i was wondering if you had one last song you'd like to sing us out on. [applause] >> can she borrow your stool? >> can she borrow your stool? this is my wife kim. and here is a song that we sing .o our twin boys about two years ago, we went in to sing them to sleep with this lullaby. we got the guitar and sat down on the side of the bed. played the opening chords. he said, you know, dad, we do not have to do this anymore. ♪
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oh the sun is sinking now but the moon is rising so this old world must still be spinning round and i still love you but you close your eyes you can close your eyes it's all right i don't know no love songs i can't sing the blues anymore but i can sing this song and you can sing this song
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when i'm gone ♪ it won't be long for another day and we're gonna have a good time and no one's gonna take that time away you can stay as long as you like only close your eyes you can close your eyes it's all right love songsknow no i can't sing the blues anymore but i can sing this song
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and you can sing this song when i'm gone ♪ ♪ she's a game gal. [applause] good-bye and thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
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thisere's what's ahead, christmas eve. next, michelle obama chose children -- shows children at the white house decorations. and the effect hollywood has on public policy. then george will talks about the relationship between religion and politics. >> the taping system was top- secret. the only person who kne firstw father.y that is until president nixon.
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until watergate, the concept of the secret taping can seem problematic. this is an invaluable historical resource. on these tapes, history unfolds in a real time in the most dramatic possible way. we hear the confrontations of the civil rights movement and the life or death decisions being made during the cuban missile crisis. >> caroline kennedy joins in a discussion on the 1963 recordings of the late president in the oval office, as "book tv" continues through the holiday on c-span-2. >> as president obama begins his second term in office, what is the most important issue we should consider? >> tell us. make a short video about your message. >> it is c-span's student cam video competition. it is your chance to win the grand prize of $50,000. the deadline is january 18.
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for more information, go to studentcam.org. >> the first lady and two white house chefs recently held a demonstration with children in the state dining room. >> showing these flags. and all of the other ornaments on the tree here have been from previous years. we try to reuse them in a different format. the rest of the ornaments came from other trees in the white house. 60% of the ornaments are recycled from previous years. pardon me? >> [inaudible] >> all trees in the house. [inaudible conversations]
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♪ [inaudible conversations]
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>> you take a red and you string it through. you put it through. can you do that? twist the upper, have you threaded the needle before? >> do you want to make one? >> tie it, make a knot at the end because you can make get along or you can make it short. the want to try it? i like your timing issue. crossover and then make another knot. >> that is so super cute. what do you think? yeah, yeah. so you'll be able to take some of these home. or the window.
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what do you think? so now to take a ribbon and your string it through. can you do it? you thread it through the hole. got it? have you threaded a needle before? you want to make it pointy and pull it through. knot atit, you make a the end. you can make it long or short, wherever you want to tie the knot. tie it like you are tying a shoe. you cross over. and then you make another knot. whaant to do it? >> that looks perfect. >> there you go. tie it tight.
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you did it? that is the same thing. that's cool. i like the way the you come by in the strings. that is a good idea. very gifted, good thinking. it very creative. >> is that mr. lincoln? >> it is one of the few portraits of president lincoln. you should see the movie lincoln, it talks about history and -- you guys are going to switch stations. but as soon as everybody finishes over here. >> are we going to make something to eat? >> there is something down there. coming up. you are cold? come here. we need to snuggle. are you warmer? have you seen that before? >> tons of times. >> yeah. you like being able to do that?
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where do they put their ornaments? are they ready to move? i am going to go check out the next station. just let them know when they are ready to move. hey, hi, suzie. >> you look beautiful. >> everything looks great. it is good to see you. i love the gingerbread house. it is the best ever. it is amazing. how did you do that? what is that process? >> [inaudible] >> wow. yes, it's granite. what is the activity?
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nice. look at your name. lola. but it looks good. l.l. this was already -- look, it's soft. like a real bird. i like the way that you put some on the bird, too. that is a good idea. you put some silver sprinkles. thank you. i like yours, too. i'm going to try to do a little. the pomegranate is kind of soft. i did not realize. what should i do? an m? i'll do m.o. this is hard. i have to twist it?
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thank you for that. i was told that i need to twist it. a little more? i am ready to go. i am ready. m's are hard to do. >> so are r's. >> it takes a little patience. all right. you see how much patience it takes to do this.
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yes, absolutely. all right. do you think? does it spell out -- spill out? all right, you are right. we will try. thank you, guys. this is much better. oh, yeah, this is much better.
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m.o. >> [inaudible] >> yeah, you end up ignoring them. it is true, it is a good question. but they are here a lot. here's an m.o. i am going to do a heart. red? thank you. i will do a heart on the other side. this is fun.
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i have m.o. and a heart. there is a little bit, a little mixed up. i will put mine in the center. i will check out what they are doing at the next table and i will be back. thank you. thank you. you do look familiar. where have i seen you before? you ask a good question. i do. what's your name again? >> danielle. >> it is good to see you. you do this all the time, don't you? >> sometimes. >> what is going on? it is great to see you. you guys are going to show me. show me what we are doing, how
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do we do it? what kind of lollipops are these? is this white house honey? this comes from bees we keep in the backyard. because the honey is fresh and the health the garden. they help pollinate the plants and the garden. the help plants grow. >> we are making healthy ones with candy and vegetables. this is a real icing. try the carriage -- carrot chips. >> did you taste these? this is good. these are really good. did you put a little sugar on them?
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>> they make little ornamental -- >> how do you make it curly? >> when you they get over 100 degrees, they flay inside the oven. it gives a good crunch for salad. >> we ought to give the photographers some of these so that they can see how good carrots taste. those are so good. healthy, tasty snacks. not bad. this is so good. we decorate. now i have to figure out what design. my goodness, this is so complicated. decisions, decisions. what to do.
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>> this is all edible, ok, guys? >> and once you put this on, you can eat the lollipop. i love this. oh, my gosh. >> i'm copying yours. >> so how old are you guys? what are the ages? eight, six and a half, the half is critical. ten? how's school going? boring? you sound like sasha. what do you want for christmas? a wii game? what's a wii u? she's good. what does it do?
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she is good. >> [inaudible] >> you can turn on a different tv show. >> that sounds cool. i did not know anything about that. who else has stuff that they want? a new phone? an ipod? sasha wants a phone. she can't have one yet. you want an ipod and a phone? she can't call anyone? it is one of those phones? there are times to have a phone and then when you get a phone, you don't want a phone. you don't want everybody calling you. callingt want everyone
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you. you need a new battery? what else? what else do you guys want for christmas? you want boots? what kind? you want high heels? let me see your shoes. what do you have on? that would go well with that dress. you want more? that is a decent heel. i do not know any of this. what is that? you know, that means you have everything you need. >> and maybe you should share with what you have. >> is an idea.
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all right. this would be my lollipop. what do you guys think? >> oh, guys, put up your lollipops. let's show the crew. we have a lollipop, healthy, edible, delightful. and the blue is icing. -- the glue is icing. >> did we taste this? >> you can taste this. >> it's good. >> you look wonderful. >> so do you, babe. we have got another surprise. hey, man, hi, man, hi, man, hi, how are you?
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you want to come say hello? you guys want to see? ok. yeah, absolutely, he is all clean. he just got cleaned. hi, man. hi, man. hi, yeah, i know. i know. bo, sit. there you go. ok, just make sure you watch his tail. >> i love dogs. >> so cute. >> yeah, is a good boy. i know, i know. i know. i know, they are all great kids. he probably has tasted some icing on your fingers, and he just had a bath, so he is really clean. i know. >> is very fluffy. >> i know.
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you are getting so much love, getting so much love. so much. all right, let's go, we will let him say hi to all the camera people, too. >> good boy. >> i tried to feel him. >> did everybody get a chance to feel him? he is a little puppy. he's so fluffy. you have three? what kind do you have? oh, i love german shepherds and collies. se they have those caugh shed. mahlia is allergic. >> he doesn't shed? >> he doesn't shed. oh, what's that? bo, you can see he has blue skin on the bottom, too. he is a boy.
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if you part it, it is not as blue as yours. i do not know. i do not know. yeah, i love shepherds. he got bigger. you have a little dog? he is a portuguese water dog. yeah, he loves to swim. yeah, yeah? [kids all talking at once] >> that could be it. that could be it. you want to come in? if you guys have had a pet, let somebody else come in. you want to hold a leash? just make sure he is smelling food. yeah.
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you guys are very good with him, you are very gentle. he is so calm. he is so gentle. he feels comfortable. pet away. >> [inaudible] a dog bit me. >> oh, my goodness, when did that happen? >> at my friend's house. >> yeah? come here, come around here, and let me show you something. when you need a dog, the best thing is to let him smell you, just put your arm out, you know, so you never just want to reach for a dog you do not know. and then you see what the dog is like, because if he is really calm like bo, then you can pet his head. oh, my goodness. there's no need to be scared. do you like dogs?
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i am glad that you are not afraid of dogs. all dogs are capable of biting, but not all dogs do. you guys want to finish? did everybody get a chance? >> no. >> make sure, because you want to make sure you get one of everything, ok? thank you, sweetie. all right, i know you guys want to see bo. yeah. you want to say hi to the guys? up close and personal? that is a good one. what are you going to do with that shot? >> nothing. >> you guys, happy holidays. good to see you. thanks so much. thanks so much. you guys got a good bo viewing. they no longer care. they are back to the ornaments.
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how are you? just opening the house to visitors. we are going to have more than 90,000 people here, and the kids being able to experience the wonders of this house is really a blessing. we are ready to get to work. all right, you guys come out ok, guys, i am going to go. happy holidays! >> bye! >> thanks for sharing. >> make sure you get an ornament and a lollipop, ok? bye, sweetie. thanks so much. bye, gorgeous. bye, sweetie, keep up with school, ok? work hard. thanks so much. it is great to have you guys here. bye-bye. [indiscernbile] that name sounds familiar. is that your mom? i know she is proud of you.
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you have a great christmas, babe. have fun. ok. this was really good. i'm leaving, too. i have to go to a meeting. bye, sweetness. thanks for being here and sharing these holidays with us. all right, you guys. thanks. good doggy. >> here is what is ahead this christmas eve on c-span. next, hollywood and public policy. then george will talks about the relationship between religion and politics. later, james taylor in his
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appearance at the national press club. >> by the time i was 9 years old, i was handing out leaflets for robert kennedy. when i was 10, i broke with the democratic party and went to work for john lindsay. i would not work for him at republican headquarters. i was handing out leaflets on the street corner in new york'. some women thought this was really cute, this little boy handing out leaflets. i got an early start on my political consulting career. she said that is so cute. she gave me a box of what looked to be pastry, white box with string. i took it back to the party headquarters and we open it up
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and there were all these doughnuts and a wad of $10 bills. so one of my early lesson them politics. >> david axelrod on his life in journalism and politics. that is followed at 9:30 with indentures all women delegation. then, growing up in the white house. tuesday evening on c-span. >> now a conversation on hollywood's portrayal of politics and policy making in movies and tv shows. among those we'll hear from the creator of the show "homeland." this is an hour 20 minutes. >> good evening again. welcome back to the forum. i'm not the one you'll be applauding for.
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you know we have public events, public forums in our headquarters campus about once a month. and we've had former presidents and foreign ministers and ambassadors and please chiefs. we have never, to my knowledge, had anybody who has ever created, let alone starred in movies or tv series until tonight. and we have michael linton to thank for that. michael is co-chair politics aside 2012 just like 2010 and he, of course, is a trustee so we're delighted to have him. he'll moderate tonight. and with him and i'll ask the panel to come forward. howard gordon and michael sheen.
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>> first of all, thank you for being here this evening and thank you for being here on a friday night. i don't do this for a living so you're going to have to fill in in the middle. let's start off with we all know the wonderful shows and movies you've been involved with, many of which have overlapped with politics from "homeland," "the queen", so the first thing i'd like to ask -- i'd like to talk about the shows "homeland" and "the queen."
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where did those come from in the first place? >> "24" came from a basic idea, two writers. joel said it was an in the shower idea. i'm thinking about television and in television there are 22 or 24 episodes in a season, thinking about the number 24 and said could you do an entire series of television over the course of one day. and i was an executive at fox at the time and when he came in and said this to me and that was an intriguing notion could you do an entire series of television over one day real time.
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then he laid out the barest bones of a story that would support that. it's a guy day of the california primary first an african-american was shot at the white house and he got word of an assassination attempt and it's his job to stop it, meanwhile his teenage daughter goes missing, that was sort of the beginning. i had zero faith he was going to be able to write it well but it was worth the price of admission to see and that's where it all began. and howard came into "24" beginning with episode two and carried it all the way to the end and wrote many of the greatest episodes and brought the series to a close in its last episode. but it began with an idea in the shower just thinking about the form of television. >> it was actually the day
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before a wedding so it wasn't until terrorism was something that came as a second integration. >> i never heard the day before the wedding version of it. >> because it didn't work as it turned out. >> then, of course, the show went on the air and got ordered in the spring of 2001 and then the pilot was made and finished and we ordered it then and went on the air in september of 2001. and so we ended up delaying the premiere by a week and went on two or three weeks after 9/11. >> it certainly changed the way we viewed the show. it's interesting that it itself pat ro moin wasn't born out of 9/11 which a lot of people think, but it was midwifed by it and viewed through it.
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relevant to tonight's conversation is some of the issue that is became relevant to the show like how do we prosecute the warren terror. jack resonated with the audience because whatever failure of intelligence allowed 9/11 to happen, jack was that character, filled in the gap and equally problematic not only were the terrorists but were the bureaucracies that allowed it to happen. as that story became more complicated, jack became a darker character and through the lens of guantanamo the story he became less heroic character and more complicated certainly. >> and "homeland"?
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>> that was based on an veil series. and the show came to me from an israeli company. that one was a far more specific translation from the original. that was about two prisoners of war who are traded after 17 years of captivity to israel where it was kind of a rip van winkle drama. it dealt with substantially the idea of what is the price of a returning soldier who has been in captivity and something that was specific to that country and to that culture. and when it came our way, alex
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and i who is my writing partner on it and he runs the show, knew that was going to be a -- it was not something that would be relevant in the way it was presented in his original it ration. >> it's a very culturally resonant story in israel and everyone has a personal connection to the idea of p.o.w.'s and people missing. here guys knew it would be an anomaly if we found a soldier suddenly alive in afghanistan or iraq. so i think it was the anomalous nature of it that led them to this story. >> what was amazing to us and what was relevant is the idea that nowhere on american television had a returning soldier returning from war been portrayed. and obviously in very circumstances in the case of our character, but that was
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something that really interested us but it felt like a good way to dramatize a lot of the questions we answered on "24" in a more knew answer fashion ten years after 9/11. a lot of questions that weren't clear then are even more complex now. what do we have to be afraid of? what's the price of our security? and these are the characters we created to ask those questions. >> and michael, with "the queen" what prompted that? it came from another deal. it was a trilogy of films. the deal was a film made for british television about the supposed deal that was made between tony blair and brown before they got into power with
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the labor party. and the deal, the first one came along at a time when the idea of portraying very prominent public figures certainly within the realm of politics nobody did that unless it was sketch shows, comedy that kind of thing. the idea of actually depicting presidents, the idea of doing that is you can't take it seriously, that kind of thing. so the idea that peter morgan who is a well respected writer but hadn't found his voice up to that point. it wasn't until he wrote "the deal" he found his groove. having him on board and having proper producers behind it gave it a seriousness and a weight that nothing had had before that was looking at these sort
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of people. so "the deal" was on tv. i was offered the part and no one knew what to expect. everyone expected it to fail and not work. and i think through a combination of factors, the tone was right and it was acceptable and suddenly once the tone was acceptable and people were able to accept watching a drama which includes tony blair in bed. as soon as you take that seriously it opens an entire new universe of politics, history and opened up a can of worms as well. but the fact that that worked so well and was so accepted and
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respected and celebrated when it came out, because it did very well. that led to "the queen" and the possibility with that subject matter. we didn't expect that many to be excited about the supposed deal between blair and brown before they went into government. but about the queen and the family and lifting the veil. you thrift veil and this is an extraordinary world we've never seen inside of. so "the queen r queen" came directly from the deal. >> what did tony blair think of it? >> next question. >> i want to know president
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obama said "homeland" is his favorite show. my question is when you're dealing with live, real people who you are portraying or in the case of "homeland" or "24" when you're trying to deal with agencies that you are representing, what is that interaction like? we were talking a little bit in the room next door, maybe you can answer michael, how is tony blair's perception changed as a result of those films or the queen's perception changed in the minds of the public then we can talk about "homeland" and "24"? >> there are many things that you realize that you are working with when you do a film or a tv show that is -- has so much political emphasis.
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and one of the things is inevitably you come up against the agenda of people in terms of the agendas they have for looking at and judging politicians and public figures. which in my experience people tend to be more comfortable looking at things black and white and you want people to fit into a certain box so you can judge them against other people and make a choice and all that. and of course the first duty of an artist is to go beyond black and white and become three dimensional and make it real and make it contradictory because that's what human beings are and make it vulnerable which goes in the face of the way people want to view politicians. and you realize very quickly dish know when it was announced that we were doing "the queen"
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having done "the deal," i would have prominent people in the industry saying things to me like i'm looking forward to you giving it to blair. that's not really what i'm going for. and you realize there is a really strong agenda here and everyone projects on to you their own politics which and once it came out i realized quickly if we did the job well, people would still think we had done a hatchet job or we had done a great booster job for these people. but people project on to it what they want to see. people who are anti-blare and people problare we did a problair perform sons people read in what they want to read in.
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in terms of the actual people, there was a huge amount of suspicion. >> on the part of the tony blair? >> yes, the new labor movement, a big part of it were about controlling the media and making sure everyone's message, that delicate balance between the media and their policies, the idea of this rogue group that was going to color people's view of them that they have no control of was difficult for them. at the same time blair was -- subsequently it's hard to pin down what blair thinks abet because he says he's never watched any of them which is not true. when i did meet him he newsome things better than i did. i understand he has to say he hasn't see them.
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he doesn't want to answer questions. that's fair enough. but i suspect that there is a certain amount of -- that he's quite proud that it's being portrayed like that and there have been a few films made about it. and on the other hand he's suspicious. when i did meet him it was a push me pull you relationship we had. on the one hand it was fascinating meeting someone who played him and knew a lot about him and at the same time anything he said or did i might be using. when i met him i met him just before we did the third one and he knew that we were making it and i actually met him at murdock's house which i was very kindly invited to by mr.
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murdock's wife who thought it would be entertaining to put me and tony blair together. which it was. and i thought this is probably -- i had had a few chances to meet him which i had pushed down because i try to stay away from everyone i was going to play. but i thought at this point i really want to get a smell of it. i want to know what he's like on an animal level and how he moves the air and how people react and what smell does he give off which really helps. but when i got there we had an initial chat again where he said he hadn't seen anything. and then talked about certain things. and then his chief of staff and the lady who headed up his foundation were there and they
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had been briefed to keep me away from him because the rest of the evening they were on me. but they got progressively more and more fluid. i wasn't drinking and they started telling me incredibly discreet things about him which we used. but one thing i was going to say, the extraordinary thing is each time i played blair i would go back and look at any documentaries that came out since the last one. when we came to do special relationship a major documentary had been made because he wasn't in power anymore which was interesting and covered a lot of the areas we covered. but when the interviewer asked blair so the first time you met the queen, i believe as prime minister t morning after you won the election i believe that you're meeting was slight awkward that a few things happened that weren't protocol.
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do you remember what happened. he says well what do they do in the film? so blair used the film that we had made up as a way to answer that question. so it's an extraordinary reversal of things. >> howard and david, so with both shows, with "homeland" now and with "24" in the past, were there actions with various government agencies particularly with terrorism with yourself and those agencies and did they respond at all to what was going on on in the show? >> no. they really were -- the show is so fundamentally preposterous, the ood that so much could happen and have a middle and end in 24 hours fundamentally crazy and "homeland" deposit
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that is the cia is operating on our soil which as far as i know isn't happening. but there is emotional truth to the characters and our relationship with the military and counter terrorism agencies. they were fans. they became fans of the show and they just kind of, we got calls from people from the pentagon and from politicians. both shows were done and conceived without cooperation and without any purported. connection to how they actually run. it was never part of the promises. i've attempted some shows that have not seen the light of day with cooperation of government agencies.
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i worked for a long time on a show with the f.b.i. and also with nasa, negotiate of which probably not coincidently came to fruition. but these shows "homeland" -- "24" made up it's own organization c.. the u. to avoid it and with "homeland" it was a step towards reality so it does elude to the cia. but -- >> our relationship with the military was interesting because obviously these agencies want to keep arm's length. and once they became fans -- i think it was that simple, they
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just enjoyed it and felt this is portraying when we did portray a general or soldier, the military became cooperative. so we had a pentagon lie ace son. it got to the point we said we need a couple of f-16s they said sure. it got great. a lot of production value where it came. i think obviously they thought their public affairs and their public image through that show -- >> at the you same token i was visited by the dean of west point a few years later when there was some cry that some investigators in iraq and in afghanistan were being influenced by the content of the show and that their interrogation techniques were being informed by -- >> let me ask a question or finish your thought. >> no, i'll go back to it.
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>> i ask the question on the issue of terrorism in this country, "homeland" and "24" may or may not have had an affect on it. torture is a very, very prominent component of the show. and to what extent do you think that film and that show entered into the debate particularly under the bush administration? >> i think in "24" there was no -- the idea and it was promoted in certain articles and i think there was a conflation of politics because joel who created the show is a conservative. the affiliations on the staff were from the far left to the far right. there was no agenda on public policy. it is absurd. which isn't to say that if
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there was an issue f in fact our content was affecting the behavior of interrogators in the field, even if it was.50% were taking 245eur cues from jack bower, there was a system i can problem. the fact this is a television show, it is a television show, but it did -- and again the fact that "24" became the political football that it became for a while anyway i think was a valuable thing. >> it was a key article in the new yorker that jane mayor wrote at the height of "24." it was a look at the terrorism
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issue and its affect on the military. and i think she's fundamentally a washington military journalist and hadn't done a lot of stuff in television popular culture. and it was sort of an interesting moment for the show. and i'm not sure whether it was helpful or harmful to the show. >> i think it was harmful. somebody at a party said i used to watch the show until i found out it was promoting torture. that -- they seem to approximate mate some sort of logical conclusion but they don't. >> you were saying before that popular -- one of the things that make it popular is people are able to read into it what they want. and the politics, good complex
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story telling, the politics are a little hard to figure out. >> as you said before, the idea if you can offend everybody, you've done your job. the fact that rush limbaugh can love a show and bill clinton can love it too. in "unthinkable" did the issue of torture become part of the debate? >> that's what it was. it was about taking the ticking clock scenario you're familiar with. the idea a man has put four nuke bombs on american soil, how far do you go to get it out of him? what are the lines you're prepared to go up to or beyond in order to save the entire united states of america or everyone in it or do you have to negotiate with this man's human rights? so the film was a dramatization of that. of that.

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